Coronavirus deaths are ticking up in the new hotspots of Florida, Texas and Arizona, even as they continue to trend down nationally.
Why it matters: As infections soar, deaths will inevitably follow. And infections are soaring.
Driving the news: Arizona reported a record 117 deaths yesterday, and hospitalizations are skyrocketing there and in other hotspots.
- Texas reported a record 60 new deaths and 10,000 new cases. Florida reported 63 new deaths.
- “It’s a false narrative to take comfort in a lower rate of death,” infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci said yesterday.
The big picture: The U.S. mortality rate declined from around 7% in mid-April to around 2% by early July, and is now significantly lower than many other wealthy countries.
Between the lines: Experts offer several explanations for why the nationwide death trend may not be increasing as cases pile up.
- We’re now testing much more prolifically, so we're catching more cases, overall.
- Younger, healthier patients make up a larger share of infections than they did early on, and newly infected young people may not have spread the virus to more vulnerable people — at least not yet.
- We’ve also learned more about how to treat the virus since March, making hospitalizations less likely to result in death. The number of deaths per hospitalized patient has fallen by almost 50% since the pandemic’s April peak, per a Bernstein analysis.
What they're saying: "When you start identifying people at earlier stages of a disease, it looks like they survive longer (or have the disease longer) compared to when you identify based on severe symptoms," tweeted Boston University School of Public Health professor Ellie Murray.
What we’re watching: The number of daily deaths could exceed April’s peak by late August, according to the Bernstein analysis.