New Variants Push Numbers Upward
By Will Johnson
HOUSTON COUNTY – With over 48 percent of the entire country fully vaccinated, the numbers of newly reported cases – along with deaths related to COVID-19 – were showing a downward trend across the nation.
However, according to a recent report by the Associated Press, “The COVID-19 curve in the U.S. is rising again after months of decline, with the number of new cases per day doubling over the past three weeks, driven by the fast-spreading delta variant, lagging vaccination rates and Fourth of July gatherings.”
Nationally, 55.6% of all Americans have received at least one COVID-19 shot, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The five states with the biggest two-week jump in cases per capita all had lower vaccination rates: Missouri, 45.9%; Arkansas, 43%; Nevada, 50.9%; Louisiana, 39.2%; and Utah, 49.5%.
“Even with the latest surge, cases in the U.S. are nowhere near their peak of a quarter-million per day in January. And deaths are running at under 260 per day on average after topping out at more than 3,400 over the winter — a testament to how effectively the vaccine can prevent serious illness and death in those who happen to become infected,” the AP stated.
On the local front, the Texas Department of State Health Services (TxDSHS) reported another 36 COVID-19 related fatalities in the Lone Star State on Thursday, July 15.
In addition, the TxDSHS indicated on July 15, there were 31 estimated, active cases in Houston County with approximately 1,892 people who have recovered. There have also been 59 reported deaths. Last week, there were 9 active cases and 59 deaths.
The first cases of COVID-19 were reported in Houston County on April 17 of last year, when it was learned three individuals had tested positive for the virus.
Meanwhile, in Anderson County, it was announced on Thursday, July 15, the county had a total of 36 active cases. There have also been 3,497 recoveries and 82 reported deaths. Last week, there were 26 active cases and 82 deaths.
On Tuesday, March 31, 2020, it was reported Anderson County had its first confirmed case of the virus.
The number of active cases and fatalities per county – for those counties surrounding Houston and Anderson Counties – as of July 15 showed: Angelina – 70 active cases and 288 fatalities, last week there were 61 active cases with 288 fatalities; Cherokee – 38 active cases and 148 fatalities, last week there were 20 active cases with 147 fatalities; Freestone – 11 active cases and 50 fatalities, last week there were 14 active cases with 50 fatalities; Henderson – 89 active cases and 196 fatalities, last week there were 67 active cases with 194 fatalities; Leon – 13 active cases and 43 fatalities, last week there were 6 active cases with 43 fatalities; Madison – 7 active cases and 31 fatalities, last week there were 12 active cases with 31 fatalities; Trinity – 15 active cases and 31 fatalities, last week there were 12 active cases with 30 fatalities; and Walker – 25 active case and 133 fatalities, last week there were 0 active cases with 133 fatalities.
The Messenger first started tracking the spread of the virus in the East Texas area on Wednesday, March 25 of last year. At that time, TxDSHS reported 974 confirmed cases of the Coronavirus Disease and 12 deaths throughout 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, 2020 – the only county with a confirmed case of the Coronavirus bordering Houston or Anderson County was Walker County.
By July 15, 2021, approximately 2.57 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 had been reported in Texas while 51,585 Texans had 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.
The July 15 update showed a total of 32,526,836 Coronavirus tests had been administered in Texas with 2,519 current hospitalizations, up from 1,851 last week. The TxDSHS also reported 2,899,651 recoveries.
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 July 15, the positivity rate was 8.83%, a significant increase from last week when the rate stood at 6.32%.
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 July 16, across the US there have been 33,984,251 confirmed cases of COVID-19 – an increase of 188,952 from a week ago.
The CSSE also reported there were 608,438 US residents who had suffered a COVID-19 related death as of July 9 – an increase of 1,916 deaths from a week ago.
Worldwide, on July 16, as of 12:21 pm, there have been 189,201,877 (last week – 185,718,400) confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 4,070,243 (last week – 4,013,175) deaths attributed to the virus. The CDC, WHO and the CSSE are also reporting 3,562,189,393 vaccine doses have been administered.
Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at [email protected].