A massive data dump by Florida and Delaware has skewed the daily COVID-19 death figures compiled by the widely-respected Johns Hopkins University and made it appear that they jumped by 300 percent Friday.
The figure trebled from 321 on Thursday to 891 on Friday raising fears that the more highly contagious Delta variant is now translating into spiraling fatalities nationwide.
Florida made up almost half of the daily tally, with 409 of the deaths recorded coming from the Sunshine State.
The state only reports its COVID-19 figures once a week on a Friday, meaning all deaths over the last seven days are added to the total in one lump sum and that the real daily change in the last 24 hours remains unknown.
Delaware also played a major part in sending the figures skyrocketing, as officials announced 130 new deaths Friday.
However, these deaths occurred between mid-May 2020 and late June this year with officials adding them Friday following a state review of death certificates.
In fact, the state recorded zero COVID-19 deaths within the last 24 hours with just two fatalities recorded over the last week.
Michigan also contributed to Friday’s confusion, reporting 23 deaths compared to zero the previous day. In a similar sense to Florida, the state only posts its COVID-19 data twice a week on Tuesdays and Fridays, distorting the tally.
While the differences in reporting practices across states, makes it difficult to give a precise change in daily death toll nationwide, this reveals are far less frightening picture than first thought.
Following the removal of these three anomalies, daily deaths instead climbed 2.5 percent from 321 Thursday to 329.
This more closely correlates what experts have said about the new surge in COVID-19 cases – that deaths are not rising at the same rate and have remained relatively flat thanks to the vaccine rollout.
COVID-19 cases have been rising nationwide due to the spread of the more highly contagious Delta variant.
On Friday, the US recorded 194,608 new COVID-19 cases. The current seven-day average of new daily cases is roughly 67,000 – an increase of 53 per cent compared to just one week ago.
The highest seven-day day average of new COVID cases recorded in the US was roughly 251,000 back on January 8 before case counts dropped off in the spring as the country’s vaccination campaign picked up pace.
Some states, however, are recording an uptick in daily deaths even with the vaccine rollout – as large proportions of their population are yet to get the shot.
Florida made up almost half of the daily death tally, with 409 of the deaths recorded coming from the Sunshine State but this is because it only reports its COVID-19 figures once a week
Delaware also played a major part in sending the figures skyrocketing, as officials announced 130 deaths Friday. However, these deaths occurred between mid-May 2020 and late June this year
Texas has seen deaths almost double over the last week, rising from a seven-day rolling average of 23 on July 28 to a seven-day rolling average of 52 on July 30.
This comes as the state is lagging in its vaccine rollout with just 43.7 percent of people fully vaccinated, compared to 49.5 percent of the total population.
However this is still a marked decline from the state’s deadliest day since the pandemic began when 700 Texans died on July 27 last year.
Infections are also rising in the state, surging around 400 percent in the last two weeks. The seven-day rolling average increased from 3,312 on July 16 to 12,568 on July 30.
COVID-19 deaths have also trebled in the last fortnight in Louisiana, rising from seven deaths on a seven-day rolling average on July 16 to 21 on Friday.
Some states, however, are recording an uptick in daily deaths even with the vaccine rollout – as large proportions of their population are yet to get the shot. Texas has seen deaths almost double over the last week, rising from a seven-day rolling average of 23 on July 28 to a seven-day rolling average of 52 on July 30
Cases on a seven-day rolling average also rocketed 372 percent from 1,426 to 5,311 in the same timeframe.
Other COVID-19 hotspot states are recording similar patterns, with Mississippi seeing seven-day average cases rise 274 percent from 611 to 1,679, while Wisconsin has surged a staggering 555 percent from 187 average cases to 1,039 in the two-week period.
In New York, which is among the states leading the way with vaccination efforts, has still seeing cases in increase over the past month.
Dr Scott Gottlieb, the former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Friday said he believes that up to 1 million Americans could soon be infected with COVID-19 every day – four times that of the January peak.
Dr Scott Gottlieb, the former FDA commissioner, said on Friday he believes there is a significant under-reporting of COVID-19 cases at present. He said the daily caseload could be one million – four times that of the January peak
He told CNBC he believes the coronavirus is significantly more widespread in the U.S. than official case counts reflect.
‘I wouldn’t be surprised if, on the whole, we’re infecting up to a million people a day right now, and we’re just picking up maybe a 10th of that or less than a 10th of that,’ he said.
Gottlieb’s assessment would mean that the Delta variant is infecting four times as many people as during the peak of the previous surge, in January.
‘What it reflects is a reality where you have a highly transmissible variant that’s widely spread across the US right now that’s spreading mostly in a population that’s either vaccinated and developing mild symptoms or no symptoms at all; or spreading in a younger population that’s also less likely to develop symptoms because they’re younger, healthier,’ said Gottlieb.
‘Most of the spread and most of the people who are showing up in the hospital are younger people. If that’s where the infection is occurring, then there must be a lot more infection underneath the small numerator that’s showing up in the hospital.’
On Friday, the CDC released the data that was behind its recent backtrack on mask recommendations for vaccinated Americans to wear masks in indoor places in COVID-19 hot spots.
In a report published on Friday, the federal health agency detailed a COVID-19 outbreak earlier this month in Barnstable County, Massachusetts, linked to the Delta variant.
Researchers found nearly three-quarters of the infections occurred in people who were fully vaccinated against COVID-19 with either of three shots approved in the US for emergency use.
What’s more, tests showed that immunized people carried about the same viral levels in their noses and throats as unvaccinated people did.
However, there were just four hospitalizations and no fatalities among the fully vaccinated group, showing that the vaccines are very effective against severe disease and death.
A new CDC report detailed 469 cases of COVID-19 linked to an outbreak in Provincetown, Massachusetts between July 3 and July 17, of which 74% were in fully vaccinated people
‘The new data is scary,’ Dr Ali Mokdad, an epidemiologist with the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, told DailyMail.com
‘This is a stubborn virus and this mutation is a game changer.’
For the report, the team looked at COVID-19 cases linked to summer events and large gatherings in Provincetown, on Massachusetts’s Cape Cod, between July 3 and July 17.
Thousands of residents and tourists flocked to the summer town for Independence Day celebrations as well as family vacations, resulting in crowded bars, restaurants, rental homes and more.
On July 10, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health began receiving reports of an increased number of cases linked to the county.
The 14-day rolling average of COVID-19 cases in the county rose from zero cases per 100,000 persons on July 3 to 177 cases per 100,000 persons.
By July 26, 469 cases had been identified, of which 74 percent – or 346 – were among fully vaccinated with at least 14 days since their final dose.
Joe Biden on Friday night told reporters that new restrictions were likely on their way to stem the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak and he has not ruled out a vaccine mandate
Among this group, 46 percent had received the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, 38 percent got the Moderna vaccine and 16 percent got the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
The remaining 26 percent, or 84 cases, were among people who were unvaccinated, had only received one dose or whose vaccination status was unknown.
On Tuesday the CDC updated its guidance to recommend the wearing of face masks indoors, in areas where there is considerable transmission of the virus. The new advice applies to both vaccinated and unvaccinated people.
Joe Biden, who has described the rise in cases as a ‘pandemic of the unvaccinated, announced Thursday a series of new measures to try to boost vaccination rates.
He issued a new policy for federal government workers, requiring all staffers and on-site contractors to either get vaccinated or face strict protocols.
These include weekly or twice weekly testing, wearing a face mask, social distancing from other employees and visitors and being subject to restrictions on official travel.
Biden also would not rule out a national mandate, saying: ‘It’s still a question of whether the federal government can mandate the whole country. I don’t know that yet.’