A long-expected upturn in the death toll among Americans has begun, driven by fatalities in states in the South and West.
The coronavirus outbreak is growing in the vast majority of states—on Sunday, Florida hit a new single-day record for reported cases in any state when it topped 15,300 new infections.
A long-expected upturn in the death toll among Americans has begun as well, driven by fatalities in states in the South and West.
According to an Associated Press analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University, the seven-day rolling average for daily reported deaths in the U.S. has increased from 578 two weeks ago to 664 on July 10 — still well below the heights hit in April. Daily reported deaths increased in 27 states over that time period, but the majority of those states are averaging under 15 new deaths per day. A smaller group of states has been driving the nationwide increase in deaths.
“It’s consistently picking up. And it’s picking up at the time you’d expect it to,” said William Hanage, a Harvard University infectious diseases researcher.
California is averaging 91 reported deaths per day while Texas is close behind with 66, but Florida, Arizona, Illinois, New Jersey and South Carolina also saw sizable rises. New Jersey’s recent jump is thought to be partially attributable to its less frequent reporting of probable deaths.
Last week, Dr. Zeke Emanuel, chair of the Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy at the University of Pennsylvania, said he predicted between 220,000 and 250,000 direct deaths from COVID-19 in the U.S. by the year’s end. The staggering statistic does not take into account indirect deaths, such as from cancer patients or others with compromised immune systems who may avoid doctor’s offices due to infection risks.
Emanual, an advisor on Joe Biden’s campaign task force to address the coronavirus, called President Donald Trump’s pandemic response “incompetent and pretty disastrous” during an interview on the CBS podcast The Takeout.
Pointing to the recent spike of infections in several states, including new one-day highs in Alabama, Idaho, Missouri, Montana, Oregon and Texas, and the rising death toll, Emanuel said, “That’s not progress, that’s regression.”
According to the latest ABC-Ipsos poll, most Americans agree about Emanuel’s assessment of Trump’s COVID-19 response. The poll, released Friday, reveals that 67% of respondents disapprove of the president’s handling of the pandemic.
Trump’s tanking approval rating appears to be a bipartisan phenomenon. An earlier mid-June poll put the president’s response approval rating among independents at 40%; now it’s 29%. His standing among Republican voters also withered from 90% to 78% in the span of a month.
It’s the strongest expression of voter dissatisfaction with the president’s response to COVID-19 since the pandemic began. Many attribute the drop in Trump’s overall rating—8 points, from 41 to 33%—to the resurgence of infections across the U.S.
As of Monday, the virus has killed more than 135,000 Americans and more than a half-million people worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University, though the true numbers are believed to be higher.
Additional reporting by the Associated Press.