COVID-19 deaths on the rise in US

Some states' death rates have doubled in recent weeks.
4:38 | 07/12/20

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Transcript for COVID-19 deaths on the rise in US
We begin tonight with mounting evidence. It's not just covid-19 cases surging this summer, but deaths as well. Moments ago, president trump, you see him right here, arriving at Walter reed medical center wearing a mask. Something he has not yet done publicly. The visit comes amid startling new numbers. Take a look at this graph. The seven-day average of fatalities in South Carolina, Florida, Texas, Arizona, and California nearly doubling in the last month. The total U.S. Death toll tonight now rapidly approaching 135,000 lives lost. The first weekly rise since the disturbing climb comes as hospitals are being put to the test. Record hospitalizations today in Texas. And in Arizona, icus there at 90% capacity. A new patient high in California as well. Where refrigerated trucks are outside one mortuary to help store the dead. Disapproval among Americans of president trump's response to the pandemic is at a high, and of course the big question -- is enough being done to slow the spread? ABC's Trevor Ault leads our coverage tonight from New York. Reporter: Tonight, president trump wearing a mask in public for the first time at Walter reed medical center, visiting covid first responders and wounded soldiers as hundreds of Americans families are suffering tonight. My heart, my heart. Reporter: Ft. Lauderdale mother monete hicks at a loss for words after losing two of her children to covid-19. As this week 4,200 more Americans died from coronavirus, seven states hitting record high death totals and officials fear it's going to get worse. We have a short period of time here in the next few weeks to try to bend the curve of this explosion in the number of cases, the number of hospitalizations, and the number of deaths. Reporter: In Texas this doctor concerned people aren't taking the threat seriously, saying one of her patients died after attending a so-called covid-19 party, where young people intentionally get together with people who are infected. That 30-year-old allegedly thought the virus was a hoax. He thought he was young and that he was invincible and wouldn't get infected. One of the things that was heart-wrenching that he said to his nurse was, you know, I think I made a mistake. Reporter: Florida again logging more than 10,000 new cases today. On Friday, governor Ron Desantis downplaying the concern hospitals in his state are reaching the breaking point. Hospitals have capacity. I mean, like, there will be articles saying, oh, my gosh, they're at 90%. Well, that's how hospitals normally run. Reporter: But at memorial west in south Florida they're already above 100% capacity, forced to expand to accommodate the surge. I'm busting at the seams in the emergency room. I'm busting at the seams inside the hospital. Reporter: A FEMA memo obtained by ABC news says Arizona is currently fighting the highest number of new cases in the entire world. 90% of the state's icus are full, and the nearly 3,500 hospitalized, the highest number since the pandemic began. Among them, Kerry croswhite, a father and beloved high school swim coach now fighting for his life on a ventilator. It's hit home, and our -- my whole world has been rocked. Reporter: Ohio and other parts of the midwest also pushed to the brink. We've got growth that is going like that and we need to try to slow this thing down. Reporter: State rep Candice Keller proudly violating a mask requirement while shopping at Walgreens, writing, only one in the store maskless. Be brave. Try it. You'll like it. She's being criticized for that message tonight, as in nearby Cincinnati this doctor says his hospital is full. I've got probably 15, 20 people waiting in the waiting room that can't even be seen right now because we're so full with patients that are sick. Reporter: Tonight we're hearing from Stella sexton, a healthy Pennsylvania mother, one of nearly 100 people volunteering in a covid-19 vaccine trial. I don't feel brave, but I do feel that I'm doing my duty because I have the gift of good health. She's definitely brave and doing her duty. Trevor joins us from New York City. New York was hit incredibly hard early on. It's now one of the few places making sustained progress fighting the virus, with hospitalizations at their lowest in months? Reporter: That's right, Tom. Tonight there are fewer than 800 covid hospitalizations here in New York. That's down from 18,000 at the state's peak. Still, governor Andrew Cuomo continues to stress to importance of social distancing every day and she's pointing to the spiking in other states as the reason to stay vigilant. Tom? Trevor Ault leading us off.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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