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COVID-19 is as bad as it’s ever been in the U.S. and in Mississippi



COVID-19 is as bad in the U.S. has it’s ever been. Thursday, the country saw more than 4,000 deaths for the first time in one day.

As the virus continues to rage across the country, the Mississippi State Department of Health reported 2,175 new COVID-19 cases statewide Friday and 40 deaths. Warren County reported 33 cases and one additional death.

In the first eight days of January, the state has reported 17,854 new cases, with a new one-day record of 3,255 reported Jan. 7. The state’s seven-day average of new cases is about 2,183 per day with 15,279 new cases reported, about 13% higher than a month ago.

Warren County’s 14-day total of new cases is 591 with a daily average of nearly 44 cases. The seven-day average is over 43 cases a day, with 302 cases reported in the past seven days. The county is on the governor’s list of COVID-19 hot spots that include all but four of Mississippi’s 82 counties — Claiborne, Issaquena, Sharkey and Tunica — three of which neighbor Warren.

COVID-19 is one of the state’s leading causes of death at this time, according to State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs. To see other causes of death in the state, including deaths from flu and pneumonia, click here.

The huge number of cases means a corresponding rise in the number of hospitalizations in the state. With nearly 1,500 Mississippians hospitalized, hospitals across the state — including Merit Health River Region in Vicksburg — are reporting that no ICU beds are available for any seriously ill or injured person, not just COVID-19 patients.

State health officials expect cases, hospitalizations and deaths to go even higher this month after the Christmas and New Year holidays and are strongly urging Mississippians not to hold or attend any gatherings that include people not in their immediate families. In addition, they urge wearing a mask in public, keeping 6 feet of social distance and maintaining good hand hygiene.

Nationally, the cumulative cases in the U.S. have soared to more than 21.8 million, with some sources putting the figure as high as 22.4 million. Numbers of new infections, hospitalizations and deaths continue to rise sharply.

The number of people who have died in the U.S. since the beginning of the crisis is about 367,046.

At least 4,112 people died of the virus Thursday in the U.S., the first time one-day deaths exceeded 4,000. At least 280,292 new cases were reported. The numbers of new cases have increased about 15% in the last 14 days. The rate of deaths has also increased, by about 6% in the past two weeks, as has the rate of hospitalizations. About 132,370 people were in the hospital Thursday for COVID-19, an increase of 10% in the past two weeks.

Health officials from coast to coast are bracing for the coming spike in cases, hospitalizations and deaths after the year-end holidays.

California continues to see extraordinary numbers of new cases, averaging more than 40,000 a day over the past seven days, although the trend seems to be flattening. Florida’s seven-day average has increased 35% over the last two weeks, with an average is more than 15,000 cases a day.

In the U.S., at least eight states — Colorado, California, Florida, New York, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Texas and Connecticut — have confirmed cases of the COVID-19 variant first reported Dec. 8 in the U.K. It’s likely the variant has spread to other states as well. The variant is more contagious by about half but does not appear to be more severe or deadly. Regardless, because of its higher contagion rate, the country will see even higher rates of cases and deaths in the coming weeks and months.

Local and statewide COVID-19 statistics for Friday, Jan. 8

In Warren County, MSDH reported 33 new COVID-19 cases Friday and one new death. The cumulative number of cases in Warren County to date is 3,075, and the county’s death toll is 85. The seven-day average of new cases in the county is about 43 per day, about 75% higher than the average of cases a month ago.

Statewide, MSDH reported 2,175 new COVID-19 cases Friday, bringing the total cumulative confirmed cases in Mississippi to 233,665. The seven-day average of new cases is 2,183 per day, about 13% higher than the seven-day average a month ago. In January, the age group reporting the most cases in Mississippi are from 25 to 39 years old followed by those 50 to 64 years old.

MSDH reported Friday that 40 more Mississippians died of COVID-19 statewide, bringing the cumulative number of deaths in the state to 5,101. The state’s rate of deaths to confirmed cases is about 2.2%. This rate drops when the number of cases is going up faster than the number of deaths.

Deaths are a lagging indicator. The current surge began in Mississippi in late October, and the state saw record deaths in December and again in January; 85 cases were reported Dec. 29 and 91 cases Jan. 8. Nearly 1,000 deaths were reported in December.

Of the 40 deaths MSDH reported Friday, 26 occurred between Dec. 16 and Jan. 7 in the following counties:

County Deaths reported Friday by MSDH
Attala 2
Bolivar 2
Calhoun 1
Chickasaw 1
Clarke 1
Desoto 1
Franklin 1
Hinds 1
Itawamba 1
Jackson 1
Jefferson 1
Lafayette 1
Madison 2
Monroe 2
Neshoba 1
Pearl River 1
Pike 1
Rankin 1
Sunflower 3
Tate 1

An additional 14 COVID-19 related deaths occurred between Nov. 26, 2020, and Jan. 1, 2021, and were identified from death certificate reports.

County Deaths identified from death certificate reports
Desoto 1
Hancock 1
Itawamba 1
Jackson 1
Jasper 1
Montgomery 1
Newton 1
Pontotoc 1
Prentiss 1
Tate 1
Tippah 1
Warren 1
Webster 1
Yazoo 1

New cases and deaths were reported to MSDH as of 6 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 7. MSDH usually reports statistics on the COVID-19 coronavirus each day based on the previous day’s and death reports.

The primary metric concerning state health officials are the numbers of people hospitalized, and that number has risen steadily since Nov. 4, 2020. COVID-19 hospitalizations threaten the state’s health care system as never before.

The number of Mississippians hospitalized for the virus as of 6 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 7, was 1,480. The number includes 1,419 with confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 61 people with suspected but unconfirmed cases. Of those with confirmed infections, 348 were critically ill and in intensive care units and 229 were on ventilators.

Source: MSDH

MSDH has estimated the number of people who can be presumed recovered from COVID-19 in Mississippi. That number is 182,103 through Sunday, Jan. 3. It represents about 77.9% of the cumulative 233,665 reported as of Friday, Jan. 8.

The number of cumulative cases in Warren County three weeks ago, Friday, Dec. 18, was 2,239, therefore the estimated number of people presumed recovered in the county is 2,154, or about 70% of the 3,075 cumulative cases reported as of Friday, Jan. 8. The county has an estimated 836 active cases.

These estimates are based on MSDH’s guidelines for calculating estimated recoveries when hospitalizations are not known, using the number of cases 21 days ago, less known outcomes (deaths).

The total number of Mississippians tested for COVID-19 (PCR and antigen tests identifying current infections) as of Saturday, Jan. 2, is 1,822,215 or about 61.2% of the state’s 2.976 million residents. MSDH reports statewide test results about once a week. Without daily updated numbers of tests, it is impossible to accurately calculate Mississippi’s positivity rate (positive results to tests, seven-day average); however, the estimated rate was 18.2% Thursday, according to Johns Hopkins University. The national rate was 13.6%, and 5% or lower indicates adequate testing.

The total number of outbreaks in long-term care facilities is 221 Friday, a decrease of two since Thursday. About 34.7%, or 1,773, of the state’s total deaths were people in long-term care facilities. The cumulative number of COVID-19 cases in LTC facilities is 9,695 Friday, about 4.1% of the state’s total cases.

A total of 37 deaths in Warren County were residents of LTC facilities.

MSDH is no longer reporting outbreaks in individual long-term care facilities in Mississippi and has replaced that information with access to a database from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid. You can access and search the data by provider here. The latest data available is for the week ending Dec. 27, 2020.

For additional information, visit the MSDH website or call the COVID-19 hotline seven days a week from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. at 877-978-6453.

Copyright © 2021 Vicksburg Daily News.

Vicksburg Daily News