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New US COVID-19 cases drop for fifth week in a row, deaths decline

New US COVID-19 cases drop for fifth week in a row, deaths decline

Demonstrators march to honor people who have died during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Manhattan, New York, on Aug 21, 2020. (Photo: REUTERS/Jeenah Moon)

NEW YORK: The number of new cases of the novel coronavirus reported in the United States fell 17 per cent last week, the fifth straight week of declines, according to a Reuters tally of state and county reports.

Nearly 1,000 people a day continue to die from COVID-19, though last week's total of more than 6,700 deaths was down 9 per cent from the previous seven days.

The United States posted 297,000 new cases for the week ended Aug 23, down from a weekly peak of over 468,000 cases in mid-July. The country is now averaging less than 50,000 new infections a day for the first time since early June.

The United States still has the worst outbreak in the world, accounting for a quarter of the global total of 23 million cases.

The state with the biggest percentage increase in new cases last week was South Dakota at 50 per cent. Infections have been rising since the annual motorcycle rally in Sturgis, which drew more than 100,000 people from all over the country from Aug 7 to 16. The South Dakota health department was not immediately available for comment.

Cases rose by 30 per cent in nearby North Dakota and by 24 per cent in Wyoming.

The United States tested on average 675,000 people a day last week, down from a peak in late July of over 800,000 people a day.

Nationally, the share of all tests that came back positive for the new virus was 6.3 per cent, down from 7 per cent the prior week and below a peak of 9 per cent in mid-July, according to data from The COVID Tracking Project, a volunteer-run effort to track the outbreak.

South Carolina had the highest positivity rate in the nation at 22 per cent, followed by Texas, Nevada and Idaho at 16 per cent.

At least 29 states reported a positivity rate above 5 per cent, the level the World Health Organization considers concerning because it suggests there are more cases in the community that have not yet been uncovered.

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Source: Reuters/ec

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