Covid Deaths Persist in U.S. Even as Cases Drop Everywhere

Not a single U.S. state saw a significant increase in average daily coronavirus cases over the past week, a departure from the winter surge that pushed the virus to new heights.

But death counts, the ultimate indicator of the pandemic’s impact, remain grim and are still climbing in some states. Eleven, including Montana, Arkansas and Wyoming reported average daily deaths rising more than 10%, according to Covid Tracking Project data. Average deaths in the U.S. South and West rose over the past few days and are near all-time highs.

Covid Deaths Persist in U.S. Even as Cases Drop Everywhere

The numbers are a reminder that deaths lag behind case numbers. Even as cases have largely returned to preholiday levels, the country reported its two highest weekly death tolls in January.

Fatalities accelerate when hospitals are stretched thin. The week Alabama reported its highest hospitalization rate since the pandemic began, its daily deaths spiked. In Kentucky, a continued rise in hospitalizations since September has pushed deaths to record highs even as cases have dropped.

Some of the more-rural states reflect death increases from relatively small bases. This month, Montana has reported just one or two deaths on certain days, meaning an increase of five or six can reflect outsize gains.

There have been at least 421,890 Covid-19 deaths reported in the U.S., Johns Hopkins University data show.

According to Covid Tracking Project data:

  • No states have reported record cases this week.
  • Arizona has the most people hospitalized with the virus, when scaled for population, at 581 per million.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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