While coronavirus deaths in the U.S. are rising rapidly, public health experts are seeing a shift of good news: The second wave of confirmed cases appears to be leveling off.
Scientists do not celebrate by any means, warning that the trend is driven by four major hotspots – Arizona, California, Florida and Texas – and that cases are rising to close to 30 states in total. , with the outbreak of the center of gravity seeming to shift from the Sun Belt to the south.
Some experts wonder if the apparent improvement in the caseload will suffer It is also unclear when the deaths will start to go down. COVID-19 deaths do not move at a perfectly closed pace with the infection curve, for the simple reason that it can take weeks to get sick and die from the virus.
The future? “I think it’s very difficult to predict,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government’s first expert on infectious diseases.
The virus claimed more than 150,000 lives in the United States, by far the highest number of deaths in the world, along with more than another half a million worldwide.
Over the past week, the average number of deaths a day in the United States has risen more than 25%, from 843 to 1,057. Florida on Thursday reported another 253 deaths, setting its third straight one-day record. The number of confirmed infections in the country remained at 4.4 million.
In other developments:
– Collateral damage from the assembled virus, with the US economy declining at a stunning rate of 32.9% in the April-June quarter – by far the worst quarterly on record dating back to 1947. for unemployment benefits last week, further evidence that employers are still spreading jobs five months after the crisis.
Amid the outbreak and bad economic news, President Donald Trump has for the first time publicly raised the idea of delaying the November 3 presidential election, warning without evidence that an increase in the Email results in fraud. Changing Election Day would require an act of Congress, and the concept became an immediate resistance by the best Republicans and Democrats.
– Herman Cain, the former CEO of the pizza chain who in 2012 unsuccessfully sought to become the first Black candidate to win the Republican nomination for president, has died of complications from the 74-year-old virus .
Based on a seven-day continuous average, daily coronavirus cases in the United States fell from 67,317 on July 22 to 65,266 on Wednesday, according to data held by Johns Hopkins University. This is a reduction of about 3%.
Researchers prefer to look at two weeks of data pointing in the same direction to tell if a trend is genuine. “But I think it’s real, yes,” said Ira Longini, a biostatistician at the University of Florida who was monitoring the coronavirus and was a source of disease predictions used by the government.
The Associated Press found the average seven-day turnaround for new cases plateaued over two weeks in California and declined in Arizona, Florida and Texas.
Trends in Arizona, Texas and Florida are “starting to bend slightly,” said Jennifer Nuzzo, a Johns Hopkins public health researcher. Those states, along with California, were pouring a large number of cases a day into the national condition. So when those places make progress, the whole country looks better, she said.
Also, in another possible slug of hope, the percentage of positive return tests for the virus across the United States dropped from an average of 8.5% to 7.8% over the past week.
But with the heated outbreak in the Midwest, the Democratic government of Wisconsin, Tony Evers, has ordered that the masks be worn in the state due to some score in the cases, joining some 30 other states that have taken these measures.
The latest wave in cases became evident in June, weeks after states began reopening following a deadly explosion of cases in and around New York City in early spring. The number of cases a day has risen to 70,000 or earlier this month. Deaths also began to rise sharply, after a couple of weeks later.
Some researchers believe that recent leveling is the result of more people embracing social distance and other precautions.
“I think a lot of them are people who wear masks because they’re scared,” Longini said.
But Dr. Ali Khan, dean of the University of Nebraska College of Public Health, said the trend could also be due to the natural dynamics of the virus that scientists still don’t understand.
Without robust testing and other measures to keep the virus under control, a third peak is possible – or even likely – because an estimated only 10% of Americans have been infected so far, experts said. And there’s no reason to believe the top can’t be bigger than the first two.
“This disease will continue to put a hiccup until you find that a tinder – prone individuals – like any good fire,” said Khan, a former investigator who had an outbreak of infectious disease at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Mard.
Fauci said he was “somewhat comforted” by the recent plateau. But the stabilization of cases to about 60,000 is “still at a very high level.” He said he is also concerned about the increasing percentages of tests coming back positive in states like Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee and Indiana.
“That’s a warning sign that you may be seeing a surge,” Fauci said. “They really got to skip everything.”
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