WASHINGTON: US deaths from COVID-19 rose for a fourth week in a row to more than 8,500 people in the seven days ended Aug 2, while the number of new cases fell for a second straight week, a Reuters analysis found.
Last week's death toll was 36 per cent higher than the previous week, though deaths are a lagging indicator and can continue to rise weeks after new infections drop.
The number of new COVID-19 cases reported last week fell 5 per cent from the previous week to about 435,000, according to the Reuters tally of state and county reports.
California, Florida and Texas collectively accounted for nearly 180,000 of the new cases, though new infections were lower in all three states compared to the previous week.
Cases rose week-over-week in 20 states, including in Oklahoma where cases have risen for nine weeks in a row, in Montana where cases are up for eight straight weeks, and in Missouri where infections have risen for seven weeks.
Testing for COVID-19 fell by 6per cent in the United States last week, the first decline since late May, according to data from The COVID Tracking Project, a volunteer-run effort to track the outbreak.
Nationally, 8.2 per cent of tests came back positive for the novel coronavirus, still higher than the 5 per cent level that the World Health Organization considers concerning because it suggests there are more cases in the community that have not yet been uncovered.
Thirty-one states had positivity test rates above 5 per cent, according to the analysis, including Alabama at 22 per cent, Mississippi at 21 per cent, and Florida and Kansas at 19 per cent.