July 10, 2020
Good morning. The mayor of Seoul has been found dead. Joe Biden lays out his economic recovery plan. And virus deaths have been rising again.
A new surge in virus deaths
Medical personnel removed the body of a Covid-19 victim from a Houston hospital in June.Go Nakamura/Getty Images
The number of Americans dying from the coronavirus has started rising again.
More than 800 have died in each of the last three days — a three-day total that’s 56 percent higher than during the same three days last week.
By The New York Times | Sources: State and local health agencies and hospitals
(The chart above doesn’t yet include yesterday’s number, which would add a third large gray bar on the right side.)
The spike reverses what had been the one positive virus trend in the U.S.: Deaths had been declining since mid-April, even as the number of confirmed new cases held fairly steady in the late spring and then surged over the past several weeks.
How? Older Americans have been especially cautious, which has led to declines in the average age of new patients; younger patients die from it less often. And doctors and nurses have become better at diagnosing the virus earlier and treating it effectively.
President Trump and his aides have repeatedly highlighted the decline in deaths and said it showed that the virus was in retreat. But many epidemiologists have disagreed, saying that the surge of new cases since mid-June was so large that it would eventually lead to more deaths. (In a typical fatal case, a patient dies three to five weeks after getting infected.)
It’s too soon to say for sure, but the last few days suggest that the experts’ prediction is starting to come true.
Deaths have begun to rise across many of the same Sun Belt states where the numbers of cases are increasing. California and Texas reported a daily high in deaths earlier this week. Florida and Tennessee did so yesterday.
“Several months ago, I warned of a potential tsunami if we did not take this more seriously,” Richard Cortez, an official in Hidalgo County, in southern Texas, said. “The tsunami is here.” Nationally, the number of new cases hit another record yesterday. (The Times is tracking the latest virus news here.)
Among the victims: Richard di Liberto, the son of an immigrant bricklayer and the chief of photography at the Frick Collection in New York. The Times has a running series on people who have died from the virus, “Those We’ve Lost.”