COVID deaths start to rise again

Data: New York Times; Cartogram: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

COVID-19 deaths are on the rise again after several weeks of rising case rates caused by Omicron variants.

Driving the news: The United States has averaged about 365 daily deaths, up 7% from about 342 two weeks ago. This is still a fraction of the situation several months ago, when the daily average was in the thousands.

  • This week, the United States will likely reach 1 million COVID deaths. As the milestone nears, President Biden said, “We must not be numb to such grief. To heal, we must remember. We must remain vigilant against this pandemic and do all we can to save as many lives as possible”.

Yes, but: The increase in deaths comes after several weeks of decline. While the increasingly transmissible Omicron variants don’t usually seem to cause more severe disease, some people still die.

  • Falling immunity and low booster uptake have also meant a growing share of deaths are among those vaccinated, officials warn.

By the numbers: There was around 77,000 new daily cases over the past week, up 44% from around 53,000 two weeks ago.

  • Reported case rates remained highest in the Northeast, with Rhode Island scoring 67.3 new cases per 100,000 population, up from 38.4 per 100,000 two weeks ago.
  • Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Vermont and Maine were the four states with 50 or more new cases per 100,000 population in the past two weeks.
  • On the other hand, 15 states reported having 10 or fewer new cases per 100,000 people during the same period, including Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas and South Carolina. , South Dakota and Wyoming.
  • Five states reported lower COVID case rates, including Montana, which reported 5.2 new cases per 100,000 population, down from 5.5 per 100,000 two weeks ago. Alaska, Colorado, Pennsylvania and Washington also reported declines. DC also reported a drop, however, the CDC said Wednesday the district was two weeks behind in reporting, Axios’ Chelsea Cirruzzo reports.

Reality check: As we’ve warned before, data on new cases is becoming less reliable as public testing infrastructure continues to shrink and home test results are less likely to be reported to authorities.

  • But it still offers a window into broad trends in the spread of COVID in states.

The bottom line: As the variants spread, the warm weather returns, and more people let their guard down, the cases increase. While the numbers look much better than they once did, officials warn the virus is not yet finished with us.

Editor’s Note: This article has been updated with a statement from President Biden.

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