Home News COVID-19 Business Updates New COVID-19 Variant may cause Increased Case Load

New COVID-19 Variant may cause Increased Case Load


Update March 18

By Will Johnson

Messenger Reporter

EAST TEXAS – There’s a new variant in town and according to Dr. Anthony Fauci, the U.S. should expect an increase in cases from the BA.2 variant. In an interview with ABC News, however, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases stated, it may not lead to as severe a surge in hospitalizations or deaths.

“I would not be surprised if, in the next few weeks, we see somewhat of either a flattening of our diminution or maybe even an increase,” Dr. Fauci told ABC News’ Brad Mielke on the podcast “Start Here.”

The interview went on to state his prediction is based on conversations with colleagues in the U.K., which is currently seeing an uptick in cases. The pandemic trajectory in the U.S. has often followed the U.K. by about three weeks.

Across the state of Texas, the Texas Department of State Health Services (TxDSHS) reported 1,738 (last Thursday 2,690) newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 along with 109 (last Thursday 135) related fatalities, on Thursday, March 10.

So far in 2022, the TxDSHS indicated on March 17, there have been 466 confirmed cases in Houston County. There have also been 107 reported deaths since the pandemic began in 2020. On March 10, there were 453 confirmed cases and 107 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 17 the county had a total of 117 active cases. There have also been 7,699 recoveries and 117 reported deaths. On March 10, there were 275 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 17 showed: Angelina – 709 confirmed cases and 478 fatalities, on March 10 there were 1,619 confirmed cases with 474 fatalities; Cherokee – 945 confirmed cases and 252 fatalities, on March 10 there were 941 confirmed cases with 249 fatalities; Freestone – 427 confirmed cases and 82 fatalities, on March 10 there were 427 confirmed cases with 82 fatalities; Henderson – 5,634 confirmed cases and 416 fatalities, on March 10 there were 5,628 confirmed cases with 416 fatalities; Leon – 496 confirmed cases and 92 fatalities, on March 10 there were 492 confirmed cases with 90 fatalities; Madison – 397 confirmed cases and 53 fatalities, on March 10 there were 394 confirmed cases with 53 fatalities; Trinity – 411 confirmed cases and 72 fatalities, on March 10 there were 395 confirmed cases with 72 fatalities; and Walker – 4,245 confirmed cases and 210 fatalities, on March 10 there were 4,237 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 17, 2022, over 5.46 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 had been reported in Texas while 85,320 (on March 10 – 84,882) 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 61,602,304 Coronavirus tests had been administered in Texas with 1,697 current hospitalizations, down from 2,110 on March 10. There have also been 44,896,223 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 17, the positivity rate was 2.33%, down significantly from March 10, when the rate stood at 3.1%.

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 18, across the US there have been 79,685,587 confirmed cases of COVID-19 – an increase of 213,140 from March 11.

The CSSE further reported there were 970,116 US residents who had suffered a COVID-19 related death as of March 18 – an increase of 3,944 fatalities from March 11. So far in the US, 556,002,303 vaccine doses have been administered.

Worldwide, on March 18, as of 10:21 am, there have been 466,313,781 (on March 11 – 454,237,950) confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 6,067,720 (on March 11 – 6,033,717) deaths attributed to the virus. The CDC, WHO and the CSSE are also reporting 10,761,003,578 vaccine doses have been administered.

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

Please follow and like us: