U.S. sees highest COVID-19 daily death toll since May

Aug. 17, 2020

In a recent 24-hour period, 1,499 Americans died from the novel coronavirus, the highest number since mid-May, according to a news report from the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) at the University of Minnesota. In addition, 1,000 Americans each day have succumbed to COVID-19 for the last 17 days, per seven-day rolling averages analyzed by the Washington Post.

Across the Southern half of the country, states continue to report record death tolls, with Georgia recording 105 recent deaths, the second day with more than 100 fatalities in a row. In addition, Texas reported 324 deaths from the disease—a new single-day record. In total, the United States has over 5.2 million COVID-19 cases and more than 166,000 deaths, according to the dashboard maintained by Johns Hopkins University.

Throughout the pandemic, deaths have trailed new case counts by two to four weeks, as the virus can cause lengthy hospitalizations. Though many hot spots that lit up earlier this summer with a surge of cases are now reporting fewer positive tests and fewer hospitalizations, the death count may stay high until Labor Day. In California, which has struggled to control the virus for months, there are signs the state is getting a handle on the virus. The San Francisco Chronicle reported the state has seen a 19 percent drop in COVID-19 hospitalizations over the past two weeks.

Still, the death toll in California has been high: August has seen an average of 129 deaths a day, up from the daily average of 101 in July. In June, the daily average was just 64.

According to a new report based on data from the New York Times and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. may have already surpassed 200,000 COVID-19 deaths. The estimate is based on the phenomenon of excess deaths, which occurs when a region sees a surge of COVID-19 activity, or deaths from all causes.

Visit CIDRAP for more news