coronavirus covid-19 illustration file photo cdc dark background

This illustration, created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, reveals the structure of the novel coronavirus. The illness caused by this virus has been named COVID-19.

The coronavirus crisis is becoming more deadly locally and statewide as the number of cases increases, new data show.

More people are dying each day, of course. But the ratio of coronavirus deaths to total cases is also growing, according to the state Department of Health’s daily reports.

That could indicate that testing is behind the curve, or that patients who became ill earlier in the crisis are now dying in larger numbers as the disease progresses.

Statewide, the 78 new deaths reported by the department Friday tied Tuesday’s one-day record and pushed Pennsylvania’s total death rate above 2 percent of total cases for the first time: The state’s 416 deaths now amount to 2.1% of the 19,979 total cases reported.

The state’s death rate was below 1% until March 28, and it has risen sharply this week. Looking at just Friday’s numbers alone, the 78 new deaths in Pennsylvania are equal to 4.5% of the 1,751 new cases reported.

The death rate is significantly higher in Lancaster County.

The 21 deaths reported by the department so far amount to 3.2% of the 648 cases recorded here. Using the more current figure of 34 deaths reported by the county’s coroner, Dr. Stephen Diamantoni, the county’s coronavirus deaths amount to 5.2% of the total cases.

The numbers, of course, are not a firm predictor of how many people who get COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, will die. There are likely many mild cases and many people with the virus who have not been tested or diagnosed. Broader testing could significantly lower the ratio of deaths to diagnosed cases, if more mild cases were identified.

How do the state and local numbers compare with broader U.S. figures?

According to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Johns Hopkins University, coronavirus deaths nationwide amount to between 3% and 4% of total cases.

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