The percentage of all deaths in the United States attributed to the CCP virus, influenza, and pneumonia fell for a second consecutive week (ending April 25), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported on May 1.
Data collected from states also indicates declines in weekly numbers of CCP virus deaths.
The CDC cautioned that the numbers may still be revised as they receive more data.
The CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, commonly known as the novel coronavirus, broke out in the central Chinese city of Wuhan around November 2019, before spreading throughout the world.
As of May 3, there were over 1.15 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 and more than 67,000 attributed deaths in the United States.
“Based on death certificate data, the percentage of deaths attributed to pneumonia, influenza, or COVID-19 (PIC) decreased from 23.6% during week 16 to 14.6% during week 17 which is still significantly above baseline,” the CDC said in a May 1 release. “This is the second week of decline in this indicator, but the percentage remains high compared with any influenza season. The percentage may change as additional death certificates for deaths during recent weeks are processed.”
The percentage of all tested patients who were COVID-19 positive also declined for at least a second week, the CDC data indicates (pdf). The rate of positive results has declined particularly for tests done by commercial laboratories, dropping to some 16 percent in the week ending April 25 from about 23 percent in early-to-mid April. Commercial labs have conducted almost 80 percent of all the testing so far.
“Declines in some key indicators used to track COVID-19 from one week to the next could change as additional data are received but also may be a result of widespread social distancing measures,” CDC noted.
Data collected from individual states and from the media by the COVID Tracking Project, a volunteer initiative started by The Atlantic, doesn’t seem to completely align with the CDC data.
The project’s numbers suggest that weekly COVID-19 deaths only started to decline in the week ending April 25 and continued to decline in the week ending May 2—also a two-week decline, but one week delayed from the CDC figures.
The weekly positive test rate has been declining for three weeks already, the project’s data shows, from nearly 21 percent to less than 12 percent.
Meanwhile, the volume of tests conducted per week has increased significantly, to more than 1.6 million in the week ending May 2, from about 900,000 a month ago.
The worst-hit states remain New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut. The numbers of positive cases per 1,000 residents range from eight in Connecticut to more than 16 in New York.
The least affected states are Montana, Hawaii, and Alaska, with less than 0.5 positive cases per 1,000. Among the most populous states, the least affected are Texas and North Carolina, each with about one case per 1,000 residents.
The CDC stated that the “cumulative” COVID-19 hospitalization rate is about 40 patients per 100,000 residents. Cumulative means counting all people ever hospitalized, including those already released or deceased.
The agency said that COVID-19 hospitalization rates in adults (18–64 years) are higher than hospitalization rates for flu at “comparable time points” during the past five flu seasons.
It also said, though, that for people 65 years and older, “current COVID-19 hospitalization rates are similar to those observed during comparable time points” during recent “high severity” flu seasons.
For children (below 18), COVID-19 hospitalization rates are “much lower than influenza hospitalization rates during recent influenza seasons.”
Accurate national hospitalization counts are hard to obtain since not every state has consistently reported figures.
The COVID Tracking Project counted more than 51,000 current hospitalizations on May 2. The number has been consistently dropping since April 25.