The U.S. death toll from COVID-19 fell 16% to about 7,200 people last week, the first decline in deaths after four weeks of increases, according to a Reuters tally of state and county reports.
The country posted more than 376,000 new COVID-19 cases for the week ended August 9, or an average of roughly 53,000 per day. New cases have now fallen for three straight weeks, though the United States still accounts for a quarter of the global total of 20 million cases.
Last week’s decline in new cases came largely from recent hot spots. For instance, new cases in Arizona fell by more than 48% in the last week, and on Aug. 9 the state reported fewer than 1,000 cases for the first time since June 29.
The rate of community spread in Florida, California and Tennessee remained high, but they all reported fewer cases than in the previous week.
Hawaii had kept the virus at bay for most of the summer, but new cases more than doubled last week to over 1,200. On August 6, Hawaii Governor David Ige said he would reinstate inter-island travel restrictions that require people to quarantine for 14 days.
In South Dakota, new cases increased for the third straight week. More than 100,000 motorcycle enthusiasts are expected to attend an annual rally in Sturgis that began on Aug. 7.
Nationally, the share of all tests that came back positive for the novel coronavirus held steady at 8% according to data from The COVID Tracking Project, a volunteer-run effort to track the outbreak. Mississippi and Texas had the highest positive rates in the country at 21%.
Only 15 states reported a positive rate under 5%, which is the threshold that the World Health Organization considers concerning because it suggests there are more cases in the community that have not yet been uncovered.
Editor’s note As of July 27, reports of COVID-19 cases and deaths are sourced to Reuters reporting in order to streamline data reconciliation efforts when discrepancies arise. Testing data continues to come from The COVID Tracking Project.
About the data: On July 27, this page began using case and mortality data collected by Reuters after previously relying on The COVID Tracking Project. By tracking data in-house, Reuters is able to account for and follow up on reporting discrepancies on a state-by-state basis. This page will continue to rely on The COVID Tracking Project’s testing data.
Reuters collates and checks this data by hand and the figures largely come from state, county and territory government/public health department websites. Reuters also occasionally sources information from press conferences, press releases and verified tweets and social media posts by state officials. While some states and counties report fresh numbers daily, others only update on weekdays or less frequently.
Reuters’ total cases and deaths include both confirmed and probable cases and deaths where data is available. If probable cases and deaths are not reported, only confirmed cases and deaths are shown.
As testing numbers are not reported in a standardized format nationally, states vary in the way they record testing figures. Some include all tests performed while others only count the number of individuals tested. The COVID Tracking Project only includes polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests, which detect current coronavirus infections. Antibody tests, which may indicate a past exposure to the virus, are excluded from the overall count if they are reported separately.
Cumulative deaths in Michigan fell by one on August 9 as the state continued its data review to remove fatalities recorded in error.
Virginia reported a large backlog of positive infections on August 7, resulting in an abnormal spike in cases.
On July 30, Minnesota began reporting the total number of people tested instead of total specimens tested. This changed the state total by more than 173,000 tests for July 31.
A spike observed in deaths in New Jersey and nationally in late June is due to New Jersey including over 1,800 probable deaths from earlier this year.
Wyoming’s spike in late April is due to the inclusion of probable cases.