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U.S. COVID-19 deaths rise for fourth week, new cases drop 5%

(Reuters) - U.S. deaths from COVID-19 rose for a fourth week in a row to more than 8,500 people in the seven days ended Aug. 2, while the number of new cases fell for a second straight week, a Reuters analysis found.

FILE PHOTO: A man holds a U.S. flag and a sign reading "150 000" to represent the number of victims of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the U.S., while U.S. President Donal Trump plays golf at Trump National Golf Club, in Sterling, Virginia, U.S., August 2, 2020. REUTERS/Cheriss May/File Photo

Last week’s death toll was 36% higher than the previous week, though deaths are a lagging indicator and can continue to rise weeks after new infections drop.

The number of new COVID-19 cases reported last week fell 5% from the previous week to about 435,000, according to the Reuters tally of state and county reports. California, Florida and Texas collectively accounted for nearly 180,000 of the new cases, though new infections were lower in all three states compared to the previous week.

Graphic: Reuters interactive on rise and fall of coronavirus cases across U.S. here

Cases rose week-over-week in 20 states, including in Oklahoma where cases have risen for nine weeks in a row, in Montana where cases are up for eight straight weeks, and in Missouri where infections have risen for seven weeks.

Testing for COVID-19 fell by 6% in the United States last week, the first decline since late May, according to data from The COVID Tracking Project, a volunteer-run effort to track the outbreak.

Graphic: Tracking the novel coronavirus in the U.S. here

Nationally, 8.2% of tests came back positive for the novel coronavirus, still higher than the 5% level that the World Health Organization considers concerning because it suggests there are more cases in the community that have not yet been uncovered.

Thirty-one states had positivity test rates above 5%, according to the analysis, including Alabama at 22%, Mississippi at 21%, and Florida and Kansas at 19%.

Graphic: World-focused tracker with country-by-country interactive here

Reporting by Lisa Shumaker in Chicago; Graphic by Chris Canipe in Kansas City, Missouri; Editing by Tiffany Wu

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