COVID-19 word over red illustration
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COVID-19 death count merits another look

Heather Mac Donald asks in a Spectator USA column: Where are the deaths?

What virtually every fear-mongering story on America’s allegedly precarious situation leaves out, however, is the steadily dropping daily death numbers — from a high of 2,693 on April 21 to 808 on June 24. That April high was driven by New York City and its environs; those New York death numbers have declined, but they have not been replaced by deaths in the rest of the country. This should be good news. Instead, it is no news.

The New York Times put three reporters on a full-page article on Texas, published June 25 under the headline ‘AS NEW CASES SOAR, THE GOVERNOR FACES FALLOUT FROM A RUSH TO REOPEN.’ The story never mentioned coronavirus deaths. Texas’s daily death count has bounced around since early May without a sharp rise — a high of 63 new deaths on May 21, 42 on June 24. Arizona, another state facing media contempt, finally beat its earlier high of 67 deaths on May 8 with 79 deaths on June 24. Between those two dates, however, the curve was steady. The Arizona mortalities are concentrated on Indian reservations and to a lesser extent around the Mexican border.

In May, Georgia was the main target of expert contempt for its allegedly premature reopening. Since then, the media have gone silent, due to the state’s truly discouraging downward daily death toll from a high of 119 on April 7, long before the reopenings, to 10 on June 24.

There are no crises in hospital capacity anywhere in the country. Nursing homes, meat-packing plants, and prisons remain the main sources of new infections. Half the states are seeing cases decline or hold steady. Case counts are affected by more testing; the positive infection rate captured by testing is declining. The current caseload is younger, which is a good thing. The more people who have been infected and who recover, the more herd immunity is created.

Mitch Kokai / Senior Political Analyst

Mitch Kokai is senior political analyst for the John Locke Foundation. He joined JLF in December 2005 as director of communications. That followed more than four years as chie...

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