The United States lost more than 23,000 lives to COVID-19 last week, setting a record for the third week in a row, though the number of new infections and the number of patients in hospitals both fell from the previous seven days.
The country reported more than 1.5 million new cases of COVID-19 in the week ended Jan. 17, down 12% from the previous week, and only eight out of 50 states posted a rise in new infections, according to a Reuters analysis of state and county reports.
The average number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals fell 2% from the previous week to about 128,000, the first drop since October, according to a Reuters analysis of data from the volunteer-run COVID Tracking Project.
While some health officials have expressed concerns about a more contagious variant of the virus spreading across the United States, California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly took comfort in the fact that California hospitals were admitting 2,500 coronavirus patients every 24 hours, down from 3,500 a day.
Ghaly told reporters last week that it was “the biggest signal to me that things are beginning to flatten and potentially improve.”
Cumulatively, nearly 400,000 people have died from the novel coronavirus, or one in every 822 U.S. residents. The country set a single-day record with 4,336 deaths reported on Jan. 12, according to the Reuters analysis of state and county reports.
Alabama had the highest death rate per capita last week at 16 per 100,000 residents, followed by Arizona at 15.5 per 100,000 people.
The United States set a record on Jan. 15 with over 2.2 million COVID-19 tests performed in a single day. Last week, 11% of tests came back positive for the virus, down from 13.3% the prior week, according to data from the COVID Tracking Project. The highest positive test rates were in Iowa at 46%, Idaho at 40% and Pennsylvania at 35%.
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.
Texas began reporting probable cases on Dec. 11. The change resulted in a one-day increase of roughly 65,000 cases.
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 and hospitalizations data from The COVID Tracking Project