COVID-19 took a big toll in Illinois. Will deaths surge again?

The daily death rate, adjusted for population, has doubled in three of those four states since July 1. The highest rate is in Arizona, with 0.89 deaths a day, on average, per 100,000 residents. That’s six times Illinois’ most recent rate of 0.14 deaths per 100,000 residents, and approaching Illinois’ peak death rate of 0.92 deaths per 100,000 residents on May 10.

These rising death statistics, sadly, were expected. That’s because the numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations have also been growing.

In Arizona, for example, there are now 3 \u00bd times as many cases as there were on June 15. And although more cases may emerge as more people are tested, increased testing can’t explain away that growth. Over the same period, the number of people tested in Arizona doubled, which is a smaller increase.

By contrast, testing in Illinois has increased at a greater rate than the small rise in cases.

The impact of testing on case numbers is why some researchers focus on the positivity rate, or the percentage of tests coming back positive. Illinois’ rate has hovered near 3% in the past month, based on seven-day averages, which is considered a good sign. Arizona’s has climbed from 17% to 23%.

A recent study published by a group of researchers, most from the University of Illinois, found that as a state’s positivity rate rose so did hospitalizations. That’s true in Arizona, where hospitalization figures more than doubled in the past month, while Illinois’ have dropped.



July 20, 2020 at 06:22AM

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