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Task Force Adds Intensity Level to COVID-19 Death Map

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The public health advisors who help the White House Coronavirus Task Force track the COVID-19 pandemic have added a new level of intensity to the death rate map for the week ending Dec. 11.

When the advisors created the COVID-19 death rate map for the week ending Dec. 4, they used the color red to shade the counties with the highest COVID-19 death rates — 10 or more deaths for the week per 100,000 residents.

(Related: COVID-19 Death Rate Surges Higher)

When the advisors created the latest map, for the week ending Dec. 11, they handled increasing county death rates by adding a color, purple, for the many counties with 15.1 or more deaths for the week per 100,000 residents. Purple covers most of North Dakota in that map, and large parts of Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, South Dakota and Wyoming.

Here’s what happened to key national COVID-19 indicators between the week ending Dec. 4 and the week ending Dec. 11:

  • New Cases per 100,000 People: 451 (up from 385)
  • Percentage of People Tested Who Had COVID-19:  11.5% (unchanged)
  • COVID-19 Deaths per 100,000: 5.1 (up from 4.2)
  • Nursing Homes With 1 or More New Resident COVID-19 Deaths: 14% (up from 11%)

In the recommendations section of the report, the advisors told state public health officials that they must take aggressive steps to try to control the pandemic.

The number of new cases is starting to stabilize in the Northern Plains, Upper Midwest, and some Rocky Mountain and Heartland states, but that stabilization “is being offset by significant deterioration in more populous states,” the advisors say.

(Related: 5 High-Population States and Key COVID-19 Indicators)

The recent fall surge is merging with the post-Thanksgiving surge to create a winter surge, the advisors add.

“Despite the severity of this surge and the threat to the hospital systems, many state and local governments are not implementing the same mitigation policies that stemmed the tide of the summer surge,” the advisors say. “Many Americans continue to gather indoors, creating private spreading events outside of public spaces. Mitigation efforts must increase.”

Officials must keep people from different households from meeting indoors, and they must close or significantly reduce the capacity of private indoor spaces, such as restaurants and bars, the advisors say.

Officials also must ensure that “every American understands the clear risks of ANY family or friend interactions outside of their immediate household indoors without masks,” officials say.

— Read U.S. Death Gap Grows: Demographeron ThinkAdvisor.

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