New U.S. cases ease, but COVID-19 racial disparities persist

Aug. 18, 2020

A little more than two weeks since the United States hit 150,000 COVID-19 deaths, the country has now surpassed 170,000 lives lost to the novel coronavirus, according to a news report from the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) at the University of Minnesota.

The rising number of deaths comes as the nation continues to deal with the surge in cases that started earlier in the summer. While the number of new COVID-19 cases nationwide has begun to slow over the past few weeks, the United States is still recording more than twice the number of new daily COVID-19 cases it was in June.

Meanwhile, public health experts remain worried that the return of K-12 and college students to school will lead to a new spike in infections. The detection of four clusters of coronavirus cases at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC), which began its fall semester on August 10, highlights those worries. As the result, the school announced it will shift to online learning for undergraduates starting on August 19.

"We understand the concern and frustrations these changes will raise with many students and parents," UNC chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz and executive vice chancellor and provost Robert Blouin said in a statement emailed to students. "As much as we believe we have worked diligently to help create a healthy and safe campus living and learning environment, the current data presents an untenable situation."

To date, the United States has reported over 170,000 COVID-19 deaths and more than 5.4 million reported cases, according the Johns Hopkins University COVID-19 dashboard.

Visit CIDRAP for more news