18.6% of US deaths linked to flu, pneumonia or COVID-19: 4 CDC findings

The mortality rate attributed to COVID-19 fell slightly in the week ending April 17 but remains significantly elevated, according to the CDC's weekly COVIDView report

Four things to know:

1. The national percentage of respiratory specimens testing positive for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, increased in public health laboratories and decreased slightly in clinical and commercial labs. Nationwide, labs have confirmed 575,490 positive specimens since March 1.

2. The percentage of U.S. deaths attributed to flu, pneumonia or COVID-19 decreased slightly to 18.6 percent. This percentage still falls far above baseline levels and may change as additional death certificates are processed, the CDC noted.

3. The cumulative hospitalization rate for all age groups increased to 29.2 hospitalizations per 100,000 population. 

4. The amount of outpatient and emergency department visits for COVID-19 symptoms continued to decline and now falls below baseline in some parts of the U.S. While the decrease may be due to a drop in COVID-19 activity, it may also be fueled by less respiratory illnesses overall due to widespread social distancing efforts and changes in how people access healthcare. 

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