"There is a rise in Coronavirus cases because our testing is so massive and so good, far bigger and better than any other country," President Trump tweeted Thursday night. "This is great news, but even better news is that death, and the death rate, is DOWN." Experts believe it is a tweet that could come back to haunt him. While the coronavirus death rate is indeed down—largely due to improved diagnosis and treatment, as well as increased caution among the older people most at risk—there has been a steep rise in cases over the last few weeks, and with death in a typical fatal case happening three to five weeks after infection, deaths could start rising again any day, the New York Times reports.
More than 55,000 new infections were recorded Thursday, which was yet another single-day record, Reuters reports. Mississippi, Tennessee, Texas, Nevada, and Arizona also set records for COVID-19 hospitalizations, which marks a "dangerous new phase" of the pandemic as hospitals start to fill up, the Washington Post reports. In Arizona, hospitals are already activating crisis protocols and trying to expand capacity. "You look at what happened in Lombardy, Italy. What happened in New York. That’s what is about to happen here. People are going to die because our system is overwhelmed,” Will Humble, who helmed the state's Department of Health Services for six years under its previous GOP governor, tells the Post. He says the surge in cases was avoidable. "You look back at the past few months and we’re an example of what not to do," he says. (Read more coronavirus stories.)