The Roller Coaster Ride of COVID-19 Cases Continues

Update Dec. 17

By Will Johnson

Messenger Reporter

EAST TEXAS – The number of new cases of COVID-19 began to slow down in the latter part of November but as the Holiday Season rolls around, the numbers are starting to go back up.

In an article published Dec. 17 on the website, www.thehill.com, a former Biden administration COVID-19 advisor stated the health care system could be overwhelmed as the omicron variant becomes more prevalent in the U.S.

“I think we’re really just about to experience a viral blizzard,” Michael Osterholm said. “I think in the next three to eight weeks, we’re going to see millions of Americans are going to be infected with this virus, and that will be overlaid on top of delta, and we’re not yet sure exactly how that’s going to work out.”

Across the state of Texas, the Texas Department of State Health Services (TxDSHS) reported 4,319 newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 along with 90 related fatalities, on Thursday, Dec. 16.

In addition, the TxDSHS indicated on Dec. 16, there were 48 estimated, active cases in Houston County with approximately 2,788 people who have recovered. There have also been 89 reported deaths. On Dec. 16, there were 13 active cases and 88 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. 16 the county had a total of 77 active cases. There have also been 5,561 recoveries and 113 reported deaths. On Dec. 2, 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. 16 showed: Angelina – 42 active cases and 422 fatalities, on Dec. 9 there were 62 active cases with 422 fatalities; Cherokee – 19 active cases and 228 fatalities, on Dec. 9 there were 0 active cases with 228 fatalities; Freestone – 24 active cases and 73 fatalities, on Dec. 9 there were 11 active cases with 73 fatalities; Henderson – 137 active cases and 352 fatalities, on Dec. 9 there were 49 active cases with 352 fatalities; Leon – 33 active cases and 71 fatalities, on Dec. 9 there were 40 active cases with 71 fatalities; Madison – 25 active cases and 46 fatalities, on Dec. 9 there were 15 active cases with 46 fatalities; Trinity – 32 active cases and 64 fatalities, on Dec. 9 there were 25 active cases with 62 fatalities; and Walker – 104 active cases and 187 fatalities, on Dec. 9 there were 48 active cases with 187 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. 16, 2021, over 3.64 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 had been reported in Texas while 73,658 (on Dec. 9 – 73,227) 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. 16 update showed a total of 49,167,446 Coronavirus tests had been administered in Texas with 3,134 current hospitalizations, up slightly from 3,123 on Dec. 9. In addition, the TxDSHS reported an estimated 4,240,736 recoveries. There have also been 39,181,593 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 Dec. 16, the positivity rate was 9.87%, up from Dec. 9 when the rate stood at 8.64%.

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. 17, across the US there have been 50,528,668 confirmed cases of COVID-19 – an increase of 844,180 from Dec. 10.

The CSSE further reported there were 803,851 US residents who had suffered a COVID-19 related death as of Dec. 17 – an increase of 8,946 fatalities from Dec. 10. So far in the US, 487,719,686 vaccine doses have been administered.

Worldwide, on Dec. 17, as of 10:22 am, there have been 273,157,927 (on Dec. 10 – 268,774,060) confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 5,340,907 (on Dec. 10 – 5,292,013) deaths attributed to the virus. The CDC, WHO and the CSSE are also reporting 8,628,838,206 vaccine doses have been administered.

Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at [email protected].  

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