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Widening the lens on COVID-19 beyond Mississippi



(Illustration by Viruscorona2020 - Own work + L'épidémie au 02/02/2020 - Pr G Pialoux, CC BY-SA 4.0,

COVID-19 has affected every continent except Antarctica and nearly every country on earth in the few months it has been in existence. Although we’ve been concentrating on Warren County and Mississippi in our daily reporting, there is a much bigger picture.

Starting with the tightest lens, in Warren County, cases have gone from 133 to 262 in the past 30 days, nearly doubling. The death toll in the county has tripled during the same time, from four deaths on May 17 to 12 deaths on June 16. Most of the deaths in Warren are in one nursing home, Heritage House Nursing Center, which has suffered eight deaths among its residents.

Neighboring counties

Zooming out to neighboring counties, Hinds, just to Warren County’s east, has been Mississippi’s virus epicenter since the beginning of the crisis. Tuesday, the county tallied 1,348 COVID-19 cases and 28 deaths.

Yazoo County’s cases have exploded. The county now reports 350 cases and six deaths, two of them in long-term care facilities.

Claiborne County reports 142 cases and nine deaths, eight of which were residents in long-term care facilities. As of June 11, Claiborne County Senior Care is the site of 11 employee and 41 resident cases plus six resident deaths.

Sharkey County reports eight cases, no deaths and no outbreaks in long-term care facilities.

Issaquena County remains the only county in the state without any reported cases.

Across the river in Louisiana, Madison Parish reports 287 cases.

COVID-19 across Mississippi

Total cumulative cases in Mississippi number 20,152 and 915 deaths Tuesday. In the last 30 days, cases have increased by 8,856 cases and deaths by 393. More than 1,000 Mississippians have fallen ill since Friday, June 12, only four days ago.

In all, 58 of Mississippi’s 82 counties now report more than 100 cases each, and 33 counties report 200 or more cases. Twelve counties report more than 400 cases each:

County Total Cases Total Deaths
Hinds 1349 28
Madison 905 31
Jones 899 43
Neshoba 895 54
Lauderdale 816 75
Desoto 740 13
Scott 692 12
Forrest 689 41
Rankin 550 10
Leake 491 15
Holmes 474 34
Copiah 418 7
TOTAL 8,918 363

Only Sharkey and Issaquena counties report fewer than 10 cases.

Six counties report no deaths from the virus: Quitman, Tishomingo, Stone, Benton, Sharkey and Issaquena. The following 30 counties report 10 or more deaths:

County Total Cases Total Deaths
Lauderdale 816 75
Neshoba 895 54
Leflore 376 45
Jones 899 43
Forrest 689 41
Holmes 474 34
Lincoln 329 32
Madison 905 31
Pearl River 223 31
Hinds 1349 28
Monroe 297 25
Attala 333 23
Clarke 166 21
Oktibbeha 374 17
Adams 226 17
Jackson 378 16
Chickasaw 168 16
Leake 491 15
Desoto 740 13
Bolivar 194 13
Scott 692 12
Lee 310 12
Warren 262 12
Kemper 170 12
Hancock 100 12
Pike 247 11
Smith 182 11
Carroll 122 11
Tippah 95 11
Rankin 550 10
TOTAL 13,052 704

 Neighboring States

Widening the lens again to look at neighboring states, Louisiana is reporting 47,706 cases and 2,930 deaths, more than double Mississippi’s cases and three times the number of deaths.

Arkansas reports 13,191 cases and 188 deaths.

Tennessee reports 31,830 cases and 493 deaths.

Alabama reports 26,524 cases and 779 deaths

While Mississippi doesn’t physically share a border with Florida, it’s close enough to be considered a neighbor. Florida is currently reporting 80,109 cases and 2,993 deaths.

 COVID-19 in the U.S.

If you’re still reading, looking at the cases and deaths in the U.S. as a whole, the numbers will become abstract and mind numbing if they haven’t already. They’re simply too large for our minds to comprehend.

Cumulative cases in the U.S. have now topped 2.1 million, about 0.6% of the nation’s population, and 116,567 Americans have died from the virus, according to Johns Hopkins University. The U.S. tipped over 1 million cases around April 27, meaning it took roughly 50 days for cases to double.

The number of deaths have officially surpassed all the country’s deaths in World War I, known as the “War to End All Wars,” and are more than the number of American deaths in the Korean and Vietnam wars combined.

About 21% of cases and a quarter of U.S. deaths have occurred in New York State, which has been the country’s viral epicenter for months. Rounding out the five states with the most cases and deaths are New Jersey, California, Illinois and Massachusetts, all with more than 100,000 cases and 5,000 deaths each. New York alone has more than 400,000 cases and 30,000 deaths.

 COVID-19 in the world

If your mind rebelled when looking at U.S. numbers, it may turn inside out attempting to grasp the global picture.

As of Tuesday, June 6, the number of confirmed, reported cases in the world is more than 8 million, with 436,899 deaths attributed to the virus.

The number of worldwide cases has doubled since about May 9, about 38 days, and deaths since about April 28.

Of course, the worldwide number could be much higher. Many nations of the world do not have the technical and medical sophistication of the U.S., Europe and other so-called “rich” nations. Others are ruled by regimes that tightly control all information including data on COVID-19. Turkmenistan and North Korea, for example, have yet to report one COVID-19 case or death, and are among a dozen nations that have not reported at all.

Of countries that are reporting at least somewhat reliable data, the U.S. leads the world in cases and deaths and has for some time. It has twice as many cases and deaths as the No. 2 country, Brazil. Brazil’s cases have more than doubled in the last three weeks.

Rounding out the top five nations in cases are Russia, India and the United Kingdom with Spain not far behind.

The U.S. and the world’s fatality rate for the virus is about 5.4%.

The number of deaths pale in comparison to the Spanish Flu, which took about 675,000 lives in the U.S. and at least 50 million worldwide over the course of three waves over about 15 or 16 months between spring 1918 and summer 1919. The Spanish Flu also took an inordinate number of lives among young, healthy people while the majority of those killed by COVID-19 are over 65 and those with underlying health conditions.

COVID-19 has been around now for about six or seven months to date based on the best data available, but it is not going anywhere based on the numbers so far. Although it is not as fatal as the Spanish Flu, it’s certainly nothing to take lightly.

Wear your mask. Practice social distancing. Wash your hands.


New COVID-19 cases in MS top 1,000 Thursday for the first time in nearly two months



New COVID-19 cases reported in Mississippi topped 1,000 for the first time in nearly two months. The last time the state reported more than 1,000 cases on any one day was Aug. 19. As new cases rise, so do hospitalizations, and both have been rising steadily since the beginning of October.

The Mississippi State Department of Health reported five new COVID-19 cases Thursday in Warren County and no new deaths. The cumulative number of cases in Warren County to date is 1,486, and the county’s death toll is 54.

Statewide, MSDH reported 1,322 new COVID-19 cases Thursday, bringing the total cumulative confirmed cases in Mississippi to 108,139. The seven-day average of new cases is 760, higher by 311 cases from a month ago.

Most new cases are seen in younger people recently, and they are more likely to survive the virus than those 65 and older. By far, the age group reporting the most cases in Mississippi are young people from 18 to 29 years old.

MSDH reported Thursday that 12 additional Mississippians died of COVID-19 statewide. The cumulative number of deaths in the state is 3,152. The state’s rate of deaths to confirmed cases is about 2.9%.

Deaths are a lagging indicator. While July saw the highest number of new cases since the crisis began, August saw the highest number of deaths. The highest number of deaths in any one day was 67 reported Aug. 25.

Of the 12 deaths MSDH reported Thursday, 11 occurred between Oct. 3 and Oct. 14 in the following counties:

County Deaths reported Thursday
Forrest 1
Hinds 2
Jackson 1
Lee 1
Marshall 1
Neshoba 1
Perry 1
Tippah 1
Union 1
Washington 1

One additional COVID-19 related death occurred in Washington County Aug. 23 and was identified from a death certificate report.

New cases and deaths were reported to MSDH as of 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 14. MSDH usually reports statistics on the COVID-19 coronavirus each day based on the previous day’s testing and death reports.

The primary metric concerning state health officials are the numbers of people hospitalized, and that number rose steadily with the rise of new cases in July and August. On June 6, the number of Mississippians hospitalized with confirmed cases of COVID-19 was at 358. Hospitalizations nearly tripled by late July. They leveled off in early August and began noticeably dropping in the middle of the month including critical cases and numbers of people requiring ventilators. Hospitalizations continued to drop in September but levelled off at the middle of the month. They continued to drop through Oct. 3; however, hospitalizations have been showing a definite rise since then.

The number of Mississippians hospitalized for the virus as of 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 13, is 633, about half of the late July peak of more than 1,200. The number includes 500 with confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 133 people with suspected but unconfirmed cases. Of those with confirmed infections, 143 were critically ill and in intensive care units and 72 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 94,165 through Sunday, Oct. 11. This figure is updated weekly. It represents about 87.1% of the cumulative 108,139 cases reported Thursday, Oct. 15.

The number of cases in Warren County three weeks ago, Thursday, Sept. 24, was 1,402, therefore the estimated number of people presumed recovered in the county is 1,348, or about 90.7% of the 1,486 cumulative cases reported as of Thursday, Oct. 15. The county has an estimated 84 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 Sunday, Oct. 3 (the latest date available from MSDH), is 863,957 or about 29% of the state’s 2.976 million residents. The positivity rate (positive results to tests, seven-day average) was 6.3% Sunday according to Johns Hopkins University. The national rate is 5.1%, and 5% or lower indicates adequate testing.

The total number of outbreaks in long-term care facilities is 128 Thursday. About 40.4%, or 1,273, of the state’s total deaths were people in long-term care facilities.

A total of 25 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 it with access to a database from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid. You can access and search the data here. The latest data available is for the week ending Sept. 27.

For additional information, visit the MSDH website.

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Alabama’s coach Nick Saban and Greg Byrne test positive for COVID-19



Nick Saban (photo courtesy UA Athletics)

University of Alabama head football coach Nick Saban and UA Athletic Director Greg Byrne have tested positive for COVID-19.

“I found out earlier this afternoon that I had tested positive for COVID-19,” Saban said Wednesday in statement from the university. “I immediately left work and isolated at home. At this time, I do not have any symptoms relative to COVID, and I have taken another PCR test to confirm my diagnosis.”

Byrne also released a statement Wednesday.

“Today, I received notice that my COVID-19 test from this morning came back positive,” Byrne said. “Upon hearing the news, I immediately entered self-isolation and will remain at home and follow all guidelines. We’ve been diligent about mask wearing and social distancing from the start and want to continue to encourage you all to take the necessary precautions to help stop the spread of this virus for yourself and those around you.”

No. 2 Alabama is set to play No. 3 Georgia Saturday. Offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian will fill in as interim head coach during Saban’s absence.

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Vicksburg police arrest a knife-wielding suspect for meth possession



Joshua Lisk (photo courtesy VPD)

A knife-wielding South Carolina man was arrested Wednesday in Vicksburg.

Police officers responded to a report of a man waving a large knife in the 3300 block of Clay Street. They found that Joshua Lisk, of Westminster, South Carolina, was in possession of methamphetamine.

Lisk appeared in Vicksburg Municipal Court Wednesday on charges of meth possession. Judge Penny Lawson set his bond at $50,000 and bound him over to the Warren County grand jury.

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