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COVID Surge Worries Experts: 'Early Wave of a Lot of Suffering'

US death rate is back on the climb
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 11, 2020 6:30 AM CDT

(Newser) – In mid-April, the daily COVID-19 death toll in the US began to subside, thanks to shutdowns that helped flatten the virus curve. Now, sobering news from the Washington Post: That daily mortality rate has spiked this week, with more than 800 deaths across the nation daily over the past four days. Over the past four weeks, Arizona, Texas, and South Carolina have all seen a 100%-plus rise in their death tolls, per county and state health data—and experts are worried things could worsen. "This is just the early wave of a lot of suffering and death," says Harvard Global Health Institute chief Ashish Jha. "The longer we wait to act aggressively, the harder it's going to be for us to get out of the tailspin." On Friday, Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House's coronavirus response coordinator, said she expects to see the death rate rise "as the disease continues to spread in some of our large metro areas," per the Hill.

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President Trump claimed this week that the US has "the lowest Fatality (Mortality) Rate in the World," which was quickly debunked: ABC News notes we can't even boast we're among the nations with the lowest death rate, coming in ninth in the world with around 40 deaths per 100,000 people, according to Johns Hopkins University data. Meanwhile, top coronavirus expert Dr. Anthony Fauci warned this week that even if the death rate remained low, it would be a "false narrative" to let worries about the virus abate. "By allowing yourself to get infected because of risky behavior, you are part of the propagation of the outbreak," Fauci said Tuesday at a virtual event with Alabama Sen. Doug Jones, per the New York Times. "There are so many other things that are very dangerous and bad about this virus. Don't get yourself into false complacency." (Read more coronavirus stories.)

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