The daily number of COVID-19 deaths in the United States has surpassed 1,000 for the first time in a month – as infections continue to rise across the Midwest with Kansas’ positivity rate surging to more than 20 percent.
COVID-19 deaths across the country have been averaging about 700 per day for the past month before rising to 1,124 on Wednesday.
It is the highest daily death toll from the virus since September 16.
The number of new infections across the US started trending upwards about five weeks ago. For a third day this month, the US reported more than 60,000 new cases, bringing the total to more than 8.3 million.
Hospitalizations are also up with the number of COVID-19 patients hitting 40,000 for the first time since August.
The latest outbreak on a per-capita-basis is most severe in the Midwest where cases, hospitalizations and deaths have been increasing.
COVID-19 deaths across the country have been averaging about 700 per day for the past month before rising to 1,124 on Wednesday
The number of new infections across the US started trending upwards about five weeks ago. For a third consecutive day, the US reported more than 60,000 new cases
Wisconsin, Illinois, Kentucky, Colorado and Ohio are among the states that reported record daily increases in new infections on Wednesday.
Kansas’ coronavirus positivity rate surged above 20 percent on Wednesday, according to data from John Hopkins University.
Only four other states fared worse: South Dakota (35%), Idaho (32%), Nevada (21%) and Iowa (21%).
Meanwhile, deaths attributed to COVID-19 hit daily records in Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, Kansas, Hawaii and Wisconsin.
Health experts have warned that deaths will likely follow given fatalities are a lagging indicator and can rise several weeks after cases increase.
Despite the increase in cases and hospitalizations, there has not been an uptick in deaths like the surges seen in the spring and summer.
The number of Americans dying per day has been averaging about 700 for the past month, which is well below the April peak of nearly 2,000 fatalities a day.
Health experts have indicated that the death toll may not be as bad as the April surge because a large share of current cases are young people, who are less likely to die, and because of advances in treatment and knowledge of the virus.
There has been an uptick in the number of young people testing positive since September as college campuses and schools reopened in parts of the country.
The rise in cases partly reflects stepped-up testing in many states but increasing hospitalizations and deaths are metrics not linked to testing.
The spike in cases led officials in some states to reinstate restrictions on businesses to help curb further spread of the virus.
In Illinois, one of nine states that reported their highest one-day increases in cases since the start of the pandemic, some residents planned to protest a fresh round of restrictions announced this week by Governor J.B. Pritzker.
A petition to the governor posted on change.org by a restaurant owner in St. Charles, Illinois urged businesses to stay open on Friday, when Pritzker’s restrictions in some counties, including a ban on indoor dining, are set to go into effect.
Why aren’t US COVID-19 mortality rates catching up with surging cases yet?
Daily coronavirus fatality rates in the US remain a fraction of what they were in the deadly spring peak, even as cases climb to levels not seen since August, and well above infection rates from March to May.
In fact, new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggest that excess fatalities in the US have fallen substantially since the first peak of the pandemic in the spring.
However, COVID-19 is estimated to be responsible for two-thirds of nearly 300,000 ‘excess deaths’ that occurred in the US this year, the report, released Tuesday, revealed.
The US has seen nearly 300,000 more deaths than expected in a typical year in 2020 and about two-thirds of them are thought to be caused by COVID-19 (lighter blues), with about another 100,000 extra fatalities from other causes (dark blue and black). But there have been far fewer excess fatalities in the late summer and fall, despite surging cases
Many experts have warned that the worst of the pandemic is yet to come for the US, with cases ticking back up and cold weather driving people indoors where the virus can more easily spread from person to person.
The question is, ‘when?’ Months after the July peak of US coronavirus infections, the aftershock of rising deaths never did follow as anticipated. US cases have been rising once more for over three weeks, but daily deaths have not followed suit.
Experts told DailyMail.com how the shifting demographics of who is getting sick in the US, the ways that deaths are getting counted, drastically better testing, mask-wearing and what we’ve learned about caring for covid patients is altering the mortality rate.
Young people are now driving the rise in infections, most surges happening in the sparsely populated Midwest and West, and older Americans know that they need to stay home to stay safe. Collectively, these shifts in the pandemic are helping to keep death rates relatively low, compared to the spring’s devastating fatalities.
But, they warn that patterns seen in Europe suggest an increase in fatalities – albeit perhaps one less dramatic than the spring surge driven by New York City – is likely to come.