U.S. Coronavirus Deaths Remain on Downward Trajectory as Cases Rise

A foodserver at the Parkshore Grill restaurant wears a protective face mask as he waits on customers Monday, May 4, 2020, in St. Petersburg, Fla. Several restaurants are reopening with a 25% capacity as part of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis' plan to stop the spread of the coronavirus. (AP Photo/Chris …
Chris O'Meara/AP Photo

Coronavirus-related deaths in the United States remains on a downward trajectory as cases rise nationwide, recent data shows.

Cases of the Chinese coronavirus are rising in the U.S. as the states reopen their economies — allowing bars, gyms, and restaurants to resume operations — and testing capacity increases. However, while cases remain on the rise, the death rate is not currently following that upward trajectory.

The number of coronavirus cases in the U.S. is on the rise again, but the number of daily deaths is still dropping from the U.S.’s mid-April peak,” Axios reported on Monday, attributing the recent crop of positive cases to young people who are not as vulnerable to devastating effects of the infection as older individuals.

That appears to be the case in Florida, which has experienced a spike in cases in recent days. Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), who received a wave of criticism over his refusal to institute severe lockdown restrictions in the Sunshine State, attributed the rise in cases, in part, to the reality of increased testing capacity. Virtually anyone can get tested, even those who are not exhibiting symptoms. However, he also acknowledged that “the number of people testing positive is accelerating faster” than the testing.

“You know that’s evidence that there’s transmission within those communities,” he said on Saturday.

In Florida, the median age of those who are testing positive for the virus is dropping, and many of those individuals, as the governor explained on Friday, are asymptomatic.

“We know now after having dealt with the coronavirus for all these months that the mortality and morbidity is very closely linked to age, and those under 40, in particular, who don’t have any significant underlying conditions, are much, much less likely to be hospitalized or to suffer fatality,” DeSantis said during Friday’s press conference.

“So particularly in the younger cohort …  you’re finding infections with minimal or zero symptoms. That’s a little bit different than what we did at the beginning of the pandemic,” he explained.

“A new case is just a positive test. It doesn’t mean somebody’s sick,” the governor added. “The number of cases is not necessarily something that’s going to tell you what the burden of the disease is.”

That appears to be true for the rest of the country as well. However, experts worry the death rate will spike as younger people, who have tested positive for the virus, come in contact with the more vulnerable population.

“The death rate always lags several weeks behind the infection rate,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told Axios:

The high number of cases in young people is “not surprising,” Fauci added, as younger people are more likely to engage in riskier behaviors right now. “They get infected first, then they come home, and then they infect the older people. The older people get the complications, and then they go to the hospitals.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported 2,248,029 cases in the U.S. as of Sunday, up by 32,411 from the day prior. The death toll stood at 119,615 as of Sunday, according to the CDC’s data. 

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