U.S. posts sharpest weekly rise in COVID-19 deaths since August

FILE PHOTO: A healthcare worker holds a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) informational pamphlet for a resident at a drive-thru testing location in Houston, Texas, U.S., November 20, 2020. REUTERS/Adrees Latif

(Reuters) – The United States recorded its biggest weekly rise in COVID-19 deaths since August, increasing 32% from the previous week to average about 1,500 people per day, according to a Reuters analysis of state and county reports.

New cases rose 13% in the week ended Nov. 22, or an average of more than 168,000 per day

Ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday this Thursday, at least 23 states have announced new restrictions to try to slow the spread of the virus but so far only New Mexico has issued a stay-at-home order.

Cases rose by 90% in New Mexico last week, the biggest percentage increase in the country, followed by Virginia at 62% and Arizona with a 50% increase.

In North Dakota, the hardest hit state on a per capita basis, nearly 73,400 tests have come back positive for the new coronavirus since the beginning of the outbreak. That is equivalent to 9.6% of the state’s population. North Dakota mandated masks starting Nov. 14 but another 14 states still do not require them.

Across the United States, 9.8% of tests came back positive for the virus for a second week in a row, according to data from The COVID Tracking Project, a volunteer-run effort to track the outbreak.

The World Health Organization considers positive test rates above 5% concerning because it suggests there are more cases in the community that have not yet been uncovered.

Out of 50 states, 26 had positive test rates above 10% last week, led by Iowa at 56%, South Dakota at 45% and Idaho at 40%.

(Graphic by Chris Canipe, writing by Lisa Shumaker, editing by Tiffany Wu)

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