Long, Cold Winter Approaches
By Will Johnson
HOUSTON COUNTY – On Wednesday, Dec. 16, CNN reported there was a trio of all-time highs in COVID-19 data for the United States.
“A record number of new deaths – more than 3,500 – was reported Wednesday and there were more than 240,000 newly reported coronavirus cases. And the number of people in hospitals was at a high for the 11th day in a row,” the news agency indicated.
While everyone wishes the virus would disappear, it doesn’t appear it’s going away any time soon, despite those who said it would magically disappear after the election on Nov. 3.
This is evidenced by the Texas Department of State Health Services (TxDSHS) report of another 266 fatalities in the state of Texas related to the virus on Thursday, Dec. 17.
This week, according to TxDSHS, on Dec. 17, there were 55 estimated, active cases in Houston County with approximately 890 people who have recovered. There have also been 21 reported deaths. Last week, there were 54 active cases and 18 deaths.
The first cases of COVID-19 were reported in Houston County on April 17, when it was learned three individuals had tested positive for the virus.
Meanwhile, in Anderson County, County Judge Robert Johnston announced on Friday, Dec. 18, Anderson County had a total of 511 active cases. There have also been 1,619 recoveries and 57 reported deaths. Last week, there were 578 active cases and 57 deaths.
On Tuesday, March 31, it was reported that Anderson County had its first confirmed case of the virus.
The number of active cases per county – for those counties surrounding Houston and Anderson Counties, as of Dec. 17, showed: Angelina – 1,000, up from 751 last week; Cherokee – 163, down from 214 last week; Freestone – 134, up from 129 last week; Henderson – 1,324, up from 1,131 last week; Leon – 107, up from 98; Madison – 86, up from 62 last week; Trinity – 25, up from 17 last week; and Walker – 181, down from 303 last week.
The Messenger first started tracking the spread of the virus in the East Texas area on Wednesday, March 25. At that time, the Texas Department of State Health Services (TxDSHS) reported 974 confirmed cases of the Coronavirus Disease and 12 deaths in the Lone Star State.
Also on that Wednesday, the TxDSHS indicated 82 out of 254 counties in the state of Texas had at least one confirmed case of COVID-19. Of those counties – as of March 25 – the only county with a confirmed case of the Coronavirus bordering Houston or Anderson County was Walker County.
By Dec. 17, 1,371,223 confirmed cases of COVID-19 had been reported in Texas while 24,660 Texans have suffered a COVID-19 related death. Furthermore, 254 out of 254 – or 100% of counties in the state of Texas – now have or have had at least one active case of COVID-19.
After issuing a stay-at-home executive order on April 2, less than a month later – on May 1 – Gov. Greg Abbott began to open the state of Texas back up. On Thursday, Sept. 17, the governor further relaxed restrictions on businesses and lifted certain restrictions on nursing home visits.
The Dec. 17 update showed 14,029,601 total Coronavirus tests had been administered with 9,628 current hospitalizations, up from 9,045 last week. The TxDSHS also reported 1,231,429 recoveries.
Since May 1, when the governor began reopening the state, until Dec. 17, the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 has risen from 29,229 to 1,371,223 for an increase of 1,341,994. The number of Texans who suffered COVID-19 related deaths has gone from 816 on May 1 to 24,660 on Dec. 17, an increase of 23,844. A Newsweek article published on July 29 stated – at that time – Texans were dying every six minutes and 16 seconds from the coronavirus.
Another metric touted by state officials has been the positivity rate. The positivity rate is found by dividing the number of new cases (previous 7 days) by the number of new test results (previous 7 days).
On Dec. 17, the positivity rate was 14.03%, an increase from last week’s rate of 13.14%.
Moving to the national stage, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), along with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Johns Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE), as of April 17, across the US there were 699,105 cases of COVID-19.
By early June, the number of positive COVID-19 cases had eclipsed the 2 million mark and on Dec. 18, the number of positive cases reported was 17,375,760 – an increase of 1,629,734 from the previous week.
On April 17, the number of Coronavirus related deaths in the US stood at 36,773. By late May, a grim milestone was reached as the death toll in the US surpassed the 100,000 mark. Two months ago, it was reported over 200,000 US residents had perished due to the virus and by Dec. 18, the CSSE reported 312,722 US residents had suffered a COVID-19 related death, an increase of 18,937 deaths from last week.
Worldwide, on Dec. 18, as of 3:26 pm, there were 75,438,513 (last-week – 70,000,538) confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 1,670,818 (last week – 1,589,964) deaths attributed to the virus. The CDC, WHO and the CSSE are also reporting 42,580,379 (last week – 42,156,960) patients have recovered from the disease.
Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.