Coronavirus deaths are again on the rise in the U.S., with all three of the nation’s largest states setting new highs for daily death tolls Thursday following weeks of record increases in new cases and hospitalizations, even as President Donald Trump and other conservatives have touted death statistics as a sign the U.S. is handling the pandemic well.
California, Texas and Florida all reported new record daily highs for deaths Thursday.
Deaths are rising rapidly in Texas, with the 105 deaths breaking Wednesday’s record of 98, which shattered the record of 60 that was set on Tuesday.
Coronavirus deaths in the U.S. declined from early May through mid-June, but have picked up recently, and are now pacing at just under 1,000 per day.
The rise is being driven by record new death tolls in the nation’s largest states—the same states that have in large part contributed to the U.S.’s record rise in new cases recently.
Experts have said that deaths lag behind increases in cases and hospitalizations, with former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb saying in an interview Sunday that “the total number of deaths is going to start going up again.”
Coronavirus deaths reached a peak nationally in April through early May with over 2,000 a day on many days, largely driven by the severe outbreak in New York. Now the pandemic has eased in the Northeast while states in the South and West are the new national epicenters for coronavirus.
Trump and Republican politicians had used the decline in deaths and a decrease in mortality rates to argue that the U.S. response to coronavirus has worked. However, there has also been a massive increase in testing, meaning that many less severe cases are now being identified.
4.3%. According to Johns Hopkins University, that’s what the current mortality rate is among confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S., a number that’s continually dropped as testing has increased. However, health experts like Dr. Anthony Fauci said early on in the pandemic that they believe the actual mortality rate is around 1%, which is still at least 10 times the lethality of the seasonal flu. And Gottlieb noted that even if the reported death rate continues to drop, if there is an increase in infections, the amount of deaths will ultimately rise, as well.
“It’s a false narrative to take comfort in a lower rate of death,” Fauci said on Tuesday, adding “There’s so many other things that are very dangerous and bad about this virus, don’t get yourself into false complacency.”