Average US COVID-19 death toll plunges even as new cases rise

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The average daily COVID-19 death toll plunged by nearly 20 percent in the US over the past week — even as the average number of new cases and hospitalizations went up, officials said Wednesday.

An average of 745 people died per day between March 30 and April 5 — down 19.7 percent from an average of 928 people during the previous week, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said at a White House press briefing.

The decrease in fatalities came as vaccination rates continued to ramp up across the nation — with around 3 million people now getting shots per day in the US, she said.

“I’m encouraged by the decreased numbers of deaths,” Walensky said. “While these rates of vaccinations are incredible and so encouraging for all of us, trends are increasing in both case numbers and hospitalizations.”

The average number of daily coronavirus cases grew 2.3 percent from 62,058  to 63,479 from last week to this week, according to CDC data.

And the average number of daily hospitalizations also increased by 2.7 percent from 4,949 to 5,082 during the same time period.

Walensky attributed some of those cases to younger Americans, many of whom are among the last in line to be vaccinated.

“Across country we are hearing about [virus] clusters associated with daycare centers and youth sports. Hospitals are seeing more and more younger adults — those in 30s and 40s admitted with severe disease,” Walensky said. “We must continue to vaccinate as many Americans as we can.”

Recent data from Johns Hopkins University shows that nearly half of the nation’s new COVID-19 cases are concentrated in US five states — including New York, which had the most new infections across the country last week.

As of Wednesday, 76 percent of seniors and 80 percent of teachers or child care workers had received at least one vaccination shot, she said.

Overall, 32 percent of all adults in the US have received at least one shot, according to the CDC’s data tracking website.

More than 556,000 million people in the US have died of COVID-19.

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