Coronavirus latest: Testing stalls even as US infections reach new highs

Testing has stalled in the US even as infections touch new highs

Peter Wells in New York and Emma Boyde in Hong Kong

Testing has stalled in the US even as the US caseload is reaching new highs and the death rate has begun to rise again for the first time since early June, according to Covid Tracking Project data.

“On-the-ground reporting has been indicating that testing capacity is constrained right now, but we hadn’t seen that in our data. Now, after weeks of the 7-day average moving upwards, testing has stalled, even as cases reach new highs,” the researchers said on Twitter as they released Thursday’s data.

The coronavirus-related death tally has now risen by more than 800 for the third day in a row, underpinned by record one-day increases in California, Texas and Florida.

A further 867 people in the US died over the past 24 hours compared with an increase of 897 yesterday and 922 on Tuesday. These are the highest levels since early June, excluding a large historical revision to New Jersey’s numbers on June 25.

California, Florida and Texas comprised 43 per cent of Thursday’s nationwide increase in fatalities, with record one-day jumps of 149, 120 and 105 respectively. Nevada (18) was the only other state to report a record rise in fatalities.

The jump in the national death toll in recent days has come against the backdrop of federal officials who have pointed to a weeks-long decline in the death rate as a sign Covid-19’s spread through sunbelt states was under control. On July 5, just 209 deaths were reported, the fewest in just over three months.

The number of new coronavirus cases remained elevated, with a further 58,836 people in the US testing positive over the past 24 hours, a one-day increase second only to Wednesday’s record jump of more than 62,000.

Texas (9,782), Florida (8,935), California (7,031), Arizona (4,057) and Georgia (2,837) posted the biggest increases, but all were less than recent record jumps.

Five states — Alabama, Arkansas, Missouri, Washington and Wisconsin — reported record increases, according to Financial Times analysis of Covid Tracking Project data.