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COVID-19 Death Toll Re-Examined

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Update March 11

By Will Johnson

Messenger Reporter

EAST TEXAS – First, the good news. The numbers of COVID-19 cases are continuing to decline. Now, the bad news. New reports are indicating the COVID-19 pandemic may have been three times deadlier than the reported death toll suggests.

In a study conducted by the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, it has been reported researchers estimate that from the start of 2020 through the end of 2021, there have been at least 18 million more deaths than they would typically expect over the course of two years. But official reports through the end of 2021 show that less than 6 million people had died directly because of Covid-19, according to the study.

An article published by CNN indicated, “Some of this excess mortality may have been missed in official counts due to lack of diagnostic or reporting resources. But some may be attributed to other indirect effects of the pandemic, such as lack of access to health care, behavior changes during lockdowns or economic turmoil. There was not enough data to distinguish the cause of death.”

Across the state of Texas, the Texas Department of State Health Services (TxDSHS) reported 2,690 (last Thursday 2,274) newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 along with 135 (last Thursday 98) related fatalities, on Thursday, March 10.

So far in 2022, the TxDSHS indicated on March 10, there have been 453 confirmed cases in Houston County. There have also been 107 reported deaths since the pandemic began in 2020. On March 3, there were 437 confirmed cases and 106 deaths.

The first cases of COVID-19 were reported in Houston County on April 17, 2020, when it was learned three individuals had tested positive for the virus.

Meanwhile, in Anderson County, it was announced on Thursday, March 10 the county had a total of 275 active cases. There have also been 7,534 recoveries and 117 reported deaths. On March 3, there were 388 active cases and 117 deaths.

On Tuesday, March 31, 2020, it was reported Anderson County had its first confirmed case of the virus.

The number of 2022 confirmed cases and cumulative (2020-2022) fatalities per county – for those counties surrounding Houston and Anderson Counties – as of March 10 showed: Angelina – 1,619 confirmed cases and 474 fatalities, on March 3 there were 1,609 confirmed cases with 469 fatalities; Cherokee – 941 confirmed cases and 249 fatalities, on March 3 there were 935 confirmed cases with 246 fatalities; Freestone – 427 confirmed cases and 82 fatalities, on March 3 there were 416 confirmed cases with 82 fatalities; Henderson – 5,628 confirmed cases and 416 fatalities, on March 3 there were 5,602 confirmed cases with 410 fatalities; Leon – 492 confirmed cases and 90 fatalities, on March 3 there were 486 confirmed cases with 89 fatalities; Madison – 394 confirmed cases and 53 fatalities, on March 3 there were 390 confirmed cases with 53 fatalities; Trinity – 395 confirmed cases and 72 fatalities, on March 3 there were 388 confirmed cases with 72 fatalities; and Walker – 4,237 confirmed cases and 210 fatalities, on March 3 there were 4,210 confirmed cases with 210 fatalities.

The Messenger first started tracking the spread of the virus in the East Texas area on Wednesday, March 25, 2020. 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 March 10, 2022, over 5.45 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 had been reported in Texas while 84,882 (on March 3 – 83,997) 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 March 10 update showed a total of 61,162,122 Coronavirus tests had been administered in Texas with 2,110 current hospitalizations, down from 3,199 on March 3. There have also been 44,693,438 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 March 10, the positivity rate was 3.1%, down significantly from March 3, when the rate stood at 4.82%.

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 March 11, across the US there have been 79,472,447 confirmed cases of COVID-19 – an increase of 270,125 from March 4.

The CSSE further reported there were 966,172 US residents who had suffered a COVID-19 related death as of March 11 – an increase of 9,670 fatalities from March 4. So far in the US, 554,409,779 vaccine doses have been administered.

Worldwide, on March 11, as of 1:21 pm, there have been 454,237,950 (on March 4 – 442,652,611) confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 6,033,717 (on March 4 – 5,984,955) deaths attributed to the virus. The CDC, WHO and the CSSE are also reporting 10,665,354,391 vaccine doses have been administered.

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