By Lisa Shumaker
(Reuters) – U.S. deaths from COVID-19 rose for a third week in a row to more than 6,300 people in the seven days ended July 26, though the number of new cases fell 2%, dropping for the first time after rising for five weeks, a Reuters analysis found.
Fifteen states have reported weekly increases in deaths for at least two consecutive weeks, according to the Reuters tally of state and county reports. In Texas, more than 1,000 people died in the last seven days, or 20% of the state’s more than 5,000 total deaths.
Deaths are a lagging indicator and can continue to rise weeks after new infections drop. (Open https://tmsnrt.rs/2WTOZDR in an external browser for a Reuters interactive)
There were nearly 460,000 new COVID-19 cases reported last week, according to the analysis. California, Florida and Texas collectively accounted for nearly 200,000 of the new cases, though the latter two states reported fewer new infections compared to the previous week.
Cases rose week-over-week in 30 states, including states in the Northeast and Midwest that had seen infections fall earlier in the year, such as New Jersey.
Testing for COVID-19 rose by 4% in the United States last week and set a record on Friday, with nearly 930,000 tests performed, according to data from The COVID Tracking Project, a volunteer-run effort to track the outbreak.
Nationally, 8.1% of tests came back positive for the novel coronavirus, down from 8.5% the prior week but still higher than the 5% level that the World Health Organization considers concerning because it suggests there are more cases in the community that have not yet been uncovered.
Thirty-two states had positivity test rates above 5%, according to the analysis, including Arizona at 23%, Mississippi at 22% and Florida and Alabama at 19%.
(Editor’s note: On July 27, this weekly report began to use cases and deaths 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 any reporting discrepancies. Testing data continues to come from The COVID Tracking Project)
(GRAPHIC: Tracking the novel coronavirus in the U.S. – https://graphics.reuters.com/HEALTH-CORONAVIRUS-USA/0100B5K8423/index.html)
(GRAPHIC: World-focused tracker with country-by-country interactive – https://graphics.reuters.com/HEALTH-CORONAVIRUS/COUNTRIES/oakveqlyvrd/index.html?id=united-kingdom)
(Reporting by Lisa Shumaker in Chicago; Graphic by Chris Canipe in Kansas City, Missouri; Editing by Tiffany Wu)