COVID deaths begin to rise again

Data: NY Times; Cartogram: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

COVID-19 deaths are rising again after several weeks of rising case rates triggered by Omicron variants.

Driving the news: The United States averaged about 365 daily deaths, up 7% from the 342 two weeks ago. That’s still a fraction of where things were several months ago when the daily average was in the thousands.

  • This week, the US will likely hit 1 million COVID deaths. As the milestone approaches, President Biden said, “We must not become numb to such pain. To heal, we must remember. We must remain vigilant against this pandemic and do everything we can to save as many lives as possible.”

Yes, but: The increase in deaths comes after several weeks of declines. While the increasingly transmissible variants of Omicron generally don’t seem to cause more serious illness, some people are still dying.

  • Declining immunity and low booster uptake have also meant that an increasing share of deaths are occurring among those vaccinated, officials warn.

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

  • Reported case rates remained higher in the Northeast, with Rhode Island marking 67.3 new cases per 100,000 people, 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 people 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 time, including Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas, South Carolina. . , South Dakota and Wyoming.
  • Five states reported declines in COVID case rates, including Montana, which reported 5.2 new cases per 100,000 people, down from 5.5 per 100,000 two weeks ago. Alaska, Colorado, Pennsylvania and Washington also reported drops. DC also reported a drop, however the CDC said Wednesday that the District had a two-week lag in reporting, Chelsea Reports Cirruzzo from Axios.

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

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

The bottom line: As variants spread, warm weather returns, and more people let their guard down, cases are on the rise. While the numbers look much better than they once were, officials are warning that the virus is not done with us yet.

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

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