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.
Florida 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.
The state’s weekly fatality figures are also somewhat unclear. The Florida Health Department announced a far lower figure of 108 deaths for the last week.
However, the state also reported its total deaths now stand at 39,079 – 409 deaths higher than the total of 38,670 one week earlier, hence the figure recorded by John Hopkins.
Delaware also played a major part in sending the figures skyrocketing, as officials announced 130 deaths Friday.
Yet, none of the deaths were within the last 24 hours with just two COVID-19 fatalities actually recorded in the state over the last week.
Instead, the addition of the 130 came from a state review of death certificates, with the deaths occurring between mid-May 2020 and late June this year.
Michigan also contributed to Friday’s confusion, reporting 23 deaths compared to zero the previous day. In a similar sense to Florida, the reason for this is that the state only posts its COVID-19 data twice a week on Tuesdays and Fridays.
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.
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.
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,