Cases rise in nearly every US region; death rate falling for hospitalized COVID-19 patients — 6 updates

The U.S. is reporting an average of 59,000 new cases daily, the highest figure since early August, reports The New York Times.

While previous COVID-19 surges represented concentrated, regional outbreaks, cases now appear to be rising in nearly every part of the country, according to NYT. 

As of Oct. 19, 16 states have reported more cases in the past week than during any other seven-day period in the pandemic. Fourteen states also reported a record number of hospitalizations in the past week, according to COVID Tracking Project data cited by CNN.

So far, the increasing case count has not resulted in a jump in deaths. An average of 700 people are dying from the virus daily, according to NYT.

Five more updates: 

1. Nearly 300,000 excess deaths have occurred this year, suggesting that the official COVID-19 tally of about 220,000 deaths is an undercount, according to a new CDC report. The agency identified an estimated 299,028 excess deaths that occurred from Jan. 26 to Oct. 3, about 66 percent of which were attributed to COVID-19. 

2. The nation's death rate for hospitalized COVID-19 patients is falling, according to two new studies cited by NPR. The decline is evident among all age groups, including patients with underlying conditions that increase the risk of virus complications. One study analyzed 5,000 hospitalizations at New York City-based NYU Langone Health between March and August. Researchers found the death rate fell by 18 percent, on average. 

3. U.K. researchers plan to infect volunteers with the novel coronavirus early next year to assess vaccine candidates, reports The New York Times. Imperial College London is set to expose 90 immunized volunteers ages 18 to 30 to the virus in a controlled setting, as opposed to waiting for vaccinated people to encounter the virus in their communities. The government-funded study, set to begin in January, aims to determine the smallest virus dose required to infect people.

4. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has advised the White House not to reach a stimulus deal before Election Day, three Republicans told The New York Times. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., had previously said Congress must reach a deal on a COVID-19 relief package by Oct. 20 to pass legislation before Election Day. Ms. Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin have allegedly found "common ground as they move closer to an agreement," a spokesperson for Ms. Pelosi said Oct. 20.

5. Seven countries have reported at least 100,000 new COVID-19 cases in the last week, according to a New York Times database. Argentina, Brazil, Britain, France, India, Russia and the U.S. have reported at least 100,000 new infections over the last 7 days, with the U.S. recording 421,114 new cases. 

Snapshot of COVID-19 in the U.S.

Cases: 8,275,168
Deaths: 221,083
Recovered: 3,295,148

Counts reflect data available as of 8:25 a.m. CDT Oct. 21.

More articles on public health:
24 states where COVID-19 is spreading fastest, slowest: Oct. 21
COVID-19 hospitalizations by state: Oct. 21
Why obesity may limit COVID-19 vaccine effectiveness

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