There's One Bit of Good News Amid All These Spiking Coronavirus Numbers
There is one bright spot despite the climbing coronavirus case numbers.
A massive increase of coronavirus cases has been seen in areas across the country. Some places may have to return to quarantine, while others are implementing stronger mandates to help slow the spread of the virus. The recent spike in COVID-19 cases has been discouraging, but it seems there is one piece of good news to keep in mind. Although the number of reported cases has been rising in many states, the coronavirus death rate has dropped significantly.
The United States' number of new infections has steadily climbed over the past week after plateauing for the previous 80 days, per The New York Times. California reported the highest daily increase in the number of infections since the pandemic began, with 4,515 new cases in one day. A single county in Texas—Harris County—reported 1,100 new cases over the span of two days. And Florida reported 3,207 new cases in one day, the highest number they've seen.
But according to The New York Times, "Overall deaths have dropped dramatically. The 14-day average was down 42 percent as of Saturday."
There are a few possibilities when it comes to the discrepancy between the rising infection rates and the lowering death rate. New infections are skewing younger, seemingly affecting more people in their 20s and 30s, Gov. Ron DeSantis told The New York Times. This demographic shift has been reported by Washington state, California, Florida, Texas, North Carolina, South Carolina, Arizona, Wisconsin, and Colorado, according to NPR. Younger, healthy people generally have more mild symptoms, and the rate of hospitalization for people who test positive for COVID-19 in their 20s is under 4 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The falling death rates could also be a byproduct of improvements in medical care, more diagnosed cases occurring in milder disease, and older individuals better protecting themselves, according to a recent tweet by former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD.
While a drop in the death rate is good news, Anthony Fauci, MD, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID), told Axios, "The death rate always lags several weeks behind the infection rate." Since young people do not exist in a bubble, they can infect older or immune-compromised people, which could, unfortunately, manifest in a spike in the death toll in a couple of weeks. Fauci points out that young people go out and engage in risky behavior, "then they come home, and then they infect the older people. The older people get the complications, and then they go to the hospitals."
While we celebrate a steadily declining death rate, younger people should be cognizant of their activities, and be careful around any at-risk people they come in contact with to help keep the death rate low. And for areas where COVID-19 cases are rising, here are 5 States That Are "Losing Control" of Coronavirus, Doctor Says.