U.S. records highest one-day COVID-19 death toll in 7 weeks

President Donald Trump speaks to reporters during a briefing Wednesday at the White House in Washington, D.C. Warning signs posted to chairs in the briefing room caution journalists to observe measures to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Photo by Chris Kleponis/UPI

Aug. 13 (UPI) — There were more than 1,500 COVID-19 deaths in the United States on Wednesday, the highest national toll in nearly two months, according to new figures Thursday.

A total of 1,504 patients died of the coronavirus disease, according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University — the most in a single day since June 27.

New figures from Johns Hopkins on Thursday also showed there were 55,900 U.S. cases on Wednesday, which snapped a three-day streak with fewer than 50,000 per day nationwide.

Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 5.197 million cases and 166,000 deaths in the United States, Johns Hopkins data showed. Since a peak of 77,000 cases in mid-July, there has been a gradual general decline in new U.S. cases.

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New U.S. cases averaged about 53,000 for the week ending Tuesday, an 11% decline from previous seven-day period. Georgia and Florida had the most cases per-capita during the span, followed by Alabama and Mississippi, according to the Harvard Global Health Institute.

In Los Angeles, Mayor Eric Garcetti said Wednesday the city is “making progress” after key metrics showed signs of stabilization.

“While our gains might feel slow, and our future remains fragile, our success over the last three weeks is real. It’s tangible and it’s reflected in our numbers,” Garcetti said in an update.

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A day earlier, Los Angeles County health director Barbara Ferrer said key indicators were stabilizing. The county has seen an average of 37 deaths per day for the last two weeks.

Garcetti attributed the improvement to more residents wearing face masks and following distancing recommendations.

“We have to keep going,” he added. “And I know we can get there.”

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In Florida, there were more than 8,000 new cases Wednesday — a significant increase over recent days, especially in Miami-Dade County. The total, however, was inflated by the addition of thousands of backlogged cases that dated as far back as late June, Gov. Ron DeSantis said.

“The data was stale. It’s not indicative of current trends, much less a record day of fresh infections in Miami,” he said. “Stale test results shouldn’t be used by policymakers to determine the way forward for students, parents, workers and businesses in the here and now.”

The state’s positivity rate rose to about 12%, the highest since 12.1% was measured in late July. The rate in Miami-Dade County was 18.3%, officials said.

In Georgia, there were more than 100 new deaths Wednesday, for the second day in a row. A day earlier, health officials reported a record 122 deaths.

Georgia has seen a slight decline in new cases over the last three weeks, after they peaked in mid-July. Its rolling seven-day average, however, is still five times higher than it was two months ago.


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