The weekly number of new COVID-19 cases in the United States rose last week for the first time after falling for eight straight weeks, an increase that health experts attributed to schools reopening and parties over the Labor Day holiday.
New cases rose 17% to about 287,000 for the week ended Sept. 20, while deaths rose 5.5% to about 5,400 people after falling for the previous four weeks, according to a Reuters analysis of state and county reports.
Thirteen states have seen weekly infections rise for at least two weeks, up from nine states the previous week, according to the Reuters tally. In Arizona, new cases doubled last week.
On average, more than 776 people a day died from COVID-19 last week, with deaths rising in Arkansas, Kansas and Virginia.
After weeks of declining test rates, an average of 812,000 people a day were tested last week. The country set a record of testing over 1 million people on Saturday.
Nationally, the share of all tests that came back positive for COVID-19 fell for a seventh week to 5.0%, well below a recent peak of nearly 9% in mid-July, according to data from The COVID Tracking Project, a volunteer-run effort to track the outbreak.
However, 26 of the 50 states still have positive test rates above the 5% level that the World Health Organization considers concerning. The highest positive test rates are in the Midwest at over 16% in Idaho, Wisconsin, Iowa and South Dakota.
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.
On Sept. 2, Massachusetts adopted a more restrictive definition for probable cases, which resulted in a significant fall in the number of cases. Reuters has reconciled all historical data to reflect this change in methodology
Puerto Rico did not report negative tests for the week ended Sept. 20, and Texas revised its method for reporting total tests, which artificially inflated their positivity rate. Both Puerto Rico and Texas have been removed from this week’s testing table.
Cumulative deaths in Michigan fell by one on Aug. 9 as the state continued its data review to remove fatalities recorded in error.
Virginia reported a large backlog of positive infections on Aug. 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.
Reporting by Emily Isaacman, Arundhati Sarkar, Yajush Gupta, Sabahatjahan Contractor, Chinmay Rautmare, Roshan Abraham, Lisa Shumaker, Christine Chan, Wen Foo, Aditya Munjuluru, Anurag Maan, Nikhil Subba, K. Sathya Narayanan, Ahmed Farhatha, Aniruddha Chakrabarty, Mrinalika Roy, Abhishek Manikandan, Arpit Nayak, Chaithra J, Shaina Ahluwalia, Shreyasee Raj, Shashank Nayar, Nallur Sethuraman, Harshith Aranya and Gautami Khandke. Additional reporting by David Gregorio and Aurora Ellis.
Sources: Deaths and cases data from state and local governments and health authorities; Reuters reporting; U.S. Navy; Testing data from The COVID Tracking Project
Editing by Christine Chan and Tiffany Wu