Trust Index: Is the death rate an indicator of whether virus is slowing down?

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – After being mentioned recently by President Trump, Gov. Ron DeSantis and Dr. Anthony Fauci, coronavirus death rate statistics quickly became a trending topic online.

But is the death rate, whether it’s a statewide or national number, a credible indicator of whether the virus is being brought under control?

“The case fatality rate in Florida is much lower than many of the other major state,” DeSantis said Monday during a news conference.

On Tuesday, Trump tweeted that “deaths are down 39%.”

According to Fauci, who’s on the White House Coronavirus Task Force, the death rate is a complicated statistic that can be misleading.

“It’s a false narrative to take comfort in a lower rate of death,” Faucci said. “There’s so many other things that are very dangerous and bad about this virus. Don’t get yourself into false complacency.”

News4Jax posed the question to Dr. Johnathon Kantor, a Jacksonville epidemiologist, who said death rate statistics don’t tell the whole story.

“You’ve got to keep in mind that the death rate is always going to lag significantly behind the infection rate, and the hospitalization rate will always lag significantly behind the infection rate, and it’s therefore dangerous to say, oh, the death rate isn’t going up,” Kantor said.

On Wednesday, nearly 10,000 new coronavirus cases were reported in Florida. Kantor pointed out that the virus appears to be affecting more people in there 20s and 30s than originally believed.

“These younger people are getting infected, and they are the ones that are more active in their communities,” he said.

So, it the death rate a good indicator that the virus is slowing down? The Trust Index says:

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