The United States recorded 10,000 coronavirus deaths and over 1.1 million new cases last week, although state and health officials have said the Thanksgiving holiday likely caused numbers to be under-reported.
New cases fell 3.8% in the week ended Nov. 29, while deaths fell 3.9%, according to a Reuters analysis of state and county reports. Many testing centers were closed on Thursday for Thanksgiving and some private labs had reduced staffing or were closed on Friday, according to state and health officials.
They said that figures for cases and deaths this week may be abnormally high due to a backlog of data from last week.
Hospitals, which were not closed due to holidays, may provide the most accurate data for last week. Hospitalized COVID-19 patients reached a record high of nearly 93,000 on Sunday, up 11% from last week and double the number reported a month ago, according to the Reuters analysis.
Cases rose by 91% in Washington state last week, the biggest percentage increase in the country, followed by California at 31% and New York with a 25% increase.
Illinois reported 831 COVID-19 deaths last week, the highest for any state, followed by Texas with 806 deaths.
Across the United States, 9.8% of tests came back positive for the virus for a third week in a row, according to data from The COVID Tracking Project, a volunteer-run effort to track the outbreak. Out of 50 states, 29 had positive test rates above 10%. The highest rates were Iowa at 50%, Idaho at 44% and South Dakota at 41%.
The World Health Organization considers positive test rates above 5% concerning because it suggests there are more cases in the community that have not yet been uncovered.
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.
Washington did not report testing data in the week ended Nov. 29 and has been omitted from this week’s testing table.
Florida did not report data on Saturday, Oct. 10 because the state required extra time to remove duplicates due to a private lab resubmitting 400,000 results that have previously already been submitted.
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
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