Home News COVID-19 Business Updates New COVID-19 Variant Causes Concern

New COVID-19 Variant Causes Concern


Update Dec. 3

By Will Johnson

Messenger Reporter

EAST TEXAS – With the Holiday Season upon us, scientists and medical professionals are concerned a new surge of the disease may be just weeks away from sweeping across the US.

In an article published by The Texas Tribune earlier in the week, it was stated, “Scientists across Texas are scouring COVID-19 tests for evidence of the omicron variant of COVID-19, a potentially virulent but still mysterious new strain that was identified in the U.S. on Wednesday after circulating in other countries for weeks.”

The article further stated, “But it’s anyone’s guess, and a matter of much speculation in the Texas medical community, what sort of impact omicron might have on Texas when it lands here, which experts say is likely to be soon.”

Across the state of Texas, the Texas Department of State Health Services (TxDSHS) reported 1,466 newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 along with 101 related fatalities, on Thursday, Dec. 2.

In addition, the TxDSHS indicated on Dec. 2, there were 9 estimated, active cases in Houston County with approximately 2,780 people who have recovered. There have also been 87 reported deaths. On Nov.23, there were 8 active cases and 86 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, Dec. 2 the county had a total of 57 active cases. There have also been 5,525 recoveries and 112 reported deaths. On Nov. 22, there were 73 active cases and 112 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 cumulative fatalities per county – for those counties surrounding Houston and Anderson Counties – as of Dec. 2 showed: Angelina – 63 active cases and 422 fatalities, on Nov. 23 there were 96 active cases with 418 fatalities; Cherokee – 15 active cases and 228 fatalities, on Nov. 23 there were 55 active cases with 227 fatalities; Freestone – 6 active cases and 73 fatalities, on Nov. 23 there were 18 active cases with 71 fatalities; Henderson – 77 active cases and 350 fatalities, on Nov. 23 there were 104 active cases with 347 fatalities; Leon – 37 active cases and 71 fatalities, on Nov. 23 there were 18 active cases with 71 fatalities; Madison – 16 active cases and 45 fatalities, on Nov. 23 there were 20 active cases with 45 fatalities; Trinity – 17 active cases and 62 fatalities, on Nov. 23 there were 14 active cases with 61 fatalities; and Walker – 33 active case and 185 fatalities, on Nov. 23 there were 53 active cases with 185 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 Dec. 2, 2021, over 3.58 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 had been reported in Texas while 72,808 (on Nov. 23 – 72,301) Texans had suffered a COVID-19 related death. Furthermore, 254 out of 254 – or 100% of counties in the state of Texas – now have at least one active case of COVID-19.

The Dec. 2 update showed a total of 47,862,096 Coronavirus tests had been administered in Texas with 2,893 current hospitalizations, up from 2,692 on Nov. 23. In addition, the TxDSHS reported an estimated 4,199,985 recoveries. There have also been 37,460,779 vaccine doses given in Texas.

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 Nov. 23, the positivity rate was 8.57%, up from Nov. 23 when the rate stood at 6.7%.

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 Dec. 3, across the US there have been 48,833,401 confirmed cases of COVID-19 – an increase of 845,410 from Nov. 24.

The CSSE further reported there were 785,916 US residents who had suffered a COVID-19 related death as of Dec. 3 – an increase of 12,029 fatalities from Nov. 24. So far in the US, 463,523,850 vaccine doses have been administered.

Worldwide, on Dec. 3, as of 9:22 am, there have been 264,438,500 (on Nov. 24 – 259,062,478) confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 5,238,702 (on Nov. 24 – 5,170,698) deaths attributed to the virus. The CDC, WHO and the CSSE are also reporting 8,110,596,179  vaccine doses have been administered.

Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at wjohnson@messenger-news.com.  

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