The U.S. Coronavirus Death Rate Is Up for the First Time in 3 Months

This number is now rising alongside new coronavirus cases and hospitalizations.

Over the past few weeks, coronavirus cases have risen rapidly in states across the U.S., with hospitalizations also increasing in especially hard-hit states. But through it all, one of the few silver linings was that COVID deaths seemed to be going down, or at least holding steady. Sadly, that has now changed: Last week, the number of people dying from coronavirus increased for the first time in three months. Along with the heightened case numbers and occupied ICU beds, the dreaded spike in COVID deaths may have arrived.

According to Reuters, there were 5,015 deaths in the U.S. over the week ending in July 12, which represents a 46 percent rise in coronavirus deaths from the week before. As they noted, this means that "deaths linked to the respiratory disease rose nationally last week for the first time since mid-April."

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In some states—including two current epicenters of the pandemic, Texas and Florida—deaths have risen for the past two weeks. Texas saw the biggest jump in deaths overall last week, with the number more than doubling from the week before: The state's additional 555 deaths account for a 128 percent increase. As of July 14, Texas has had nearly 3,315 COVID deaths overall, along with more than 273,700 coronavirus cases.

And deaths almost doubled in Arizona, another COVID epicenter that has struggled with a dwindling number of ICU beds amid mass hospitalizations. Earlier this month, the state started scoring patients to see who would be provided COVID care. Per Reuters, there were 428 deaths from coronavirus in Arizona last week, a 94 percent increase from the week before. There have been 2,250 deaths in the state to date, and over 123,900 cases.

hospital patient in icu

Over half of U.S. states—27 total—saw more COVID deaths last week than in the week before. Those states include the most obvious contenders, states like Florida, Georgia, Nevada, and California that have been singled out for their rising case numbers. But even New York, the original epicenter of the pandemic in the U.S. and a frequently cited success story for COVID containment, saw a spike, albeit a smaller one. The state's additional 75 deaths reflect a 9 percent increase.

While it was comforting to believe that deaths from coronavirus would continue to fall even as other numbers rose, this death spike was always inevitable, according to experts. As Anthony Fauci, MD, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), told Axios in June, "The death rate always lags several weeks behind the infection rate." And for areas where COVID numbers are rising, these are 5 States "On the Brink" of Serious COVID Situations, Harvard Doctor Says.

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