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White House Advisors Report COVID-19 Death Rate Decrease

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Many national COVID-19 pandemic intensity indicators looked better last week than they looked the week before.

Officials are wondering how much of the improvement is due to real improvement and how much to the effects of the Christmas holiday on data reporting.

Members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force pandemic tracking team have put the latest pandemic intensity data in an update for the week ending Dec. 25.

(Related: Task Force Reports COVID-19 Death Rate Increase)

Here’s what happened to key national COVID-19 indicators between the week ending Dec. 18 and the week ending Dec. 25:

  • New Cases per 100,000 People: 391 (down from 462)
  • Percentage of People Tested Who Had COVID-19:  11.3% (down from 11.5%)
  • COVID-19 Deaths per 100,000: 5.1 (down from 5.5)
  • Nursing Homes With 1 or More New Resident COVID-19 Deaths: 16% (Unchanged)

The numbers for the states in the Upper Midwest, Northern Plains and Rocky Mountain regions were starting to improve in mid-December and appear to be continuing to improve now, tracking team officials wrote in a set of pandemic alert statements aimed at state public health officials.

Officials noted that last week was a holiday week.

“Data are currently unstable, outside of daily hospital admissions, due to inconsistent reporting and incomplete data over the holidays,” officials said. “There will be a reporting ‘surge’ in cases and deaths as reporting catches up.”

Hospital stress indicators held steady or got worse.

The number of new COVID-19-related hospital admissions per 100,000 people held steady at 21.

The percentage of hospitals reporting staff shortages increased to 27%, from 26%.

Christmas could have exacerbated staff shortages, but hospital supply shortages also got worse. The percentage reporting shortages of gloves, masks or surgical gowns increased to 22%, from 20%.

— Read 5 Large Cities That Top a CDC COVID-19 Worry Liston ThinkAdvisor.

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