HHS predicts U.S. coronavirus death rate will begin to fall ‘in next couple of weeks’

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An employee wearing a protective mask cleans a men’s room door at a Bloomingdale’s store in New York, June 22, 2020. stores.

Jeenah Moon | Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Department of Health and Human Services said Thursday the rate of deaths from the coronavirus in the United States should begin to fall in the “next couple of weeks.”

The seven-day rolling average of coronavirus infections is beginning to fall, and U.S. health officials predict hospitalizations will go down next week and mortality rates will follow in about two weeks, Brett Giroir, an assistant secretary for health at HHS, said during a press briefing with reporters.

“Nobody’s letting up their foot from the gas,” he added. “If we throw caution to the wind, go back to the bars, this will all go into reverse.”

The U.S. reported 71,695 new cases of the coronavirus on Wednesday, again topping 70,000 in a single day after four days of slightly lower numbers. The country’s total case count is rapidly approaching 4 million, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. 

Wednesday’s spike sent the average number of new cases to a fresh all-time high of 67,429 per day over the past seven days, up more than 6% compared with a week ago, according to a CNBC analysis of data from Johns Hopkins. The seven-day average dropped slightly for the first time in weeks on Tuesday, according to CNBC’s analysis.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates. 

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