/COVID-19 cases rising rapidly in Mississippi

COVID-19 cases rising rapidly in Mississippi

According to data from the New York Times, Mississippi saw the greatest percentage increase in new COVID-19 patients over this time period. The Mississippi case count increased by 251%, compared with 59% nationally. For a period of two days (Wednesday and Friday), 701 cases of the virus were reported in Mississippi. Liz Sharlot (communications director, Mississippi Department of Health) stated that there was “transmission, there is no question.” COVID is still present and we recommend that you get vaccinated. If you haven’t, you should get your booster and second booster. We are concerned about elderly people who don’t receive the second booster. It does make a big difference.” According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 80 of Mississippi’s 82 county have low levels COVID-19 at their community level. Jasper and Wilkinson are at “medium-level transmission.” The CDC recommends that anyone who is at risk of severe illness consult their doctor about wearing a mask or taking other precautions. After the January omicron waves, Mississippi’s overall COVID-19 transmission rate dropped to 104. However, it has started rising again in the last month. The Mississippi 7-day average number of new cases was 104, but it had increased to 337 by May 12. According to state health officials, there has been an increase in the number of outbreaks at long-term care facilities. This could indicate an increased spread within the community. The increased use of at home testing, which is not reported to the state department of health, may have led to higher numbers. Mississippi still has the majority of COVID cases due to the omicron variant. Mississippi is still one of the least vaccined states in the country. Wyoming is the only state with a lower vaccination rate than Mississippi. Wyoming is the only state that has vaccinated fewer Mississippians than Mississippi. As of May 11, 60% had received at most one dose of COVID-19 vaccine. 52% had received at minimum two doses. It has been more difficult for the state to get booster doses to vaccinated individuals. Only 19% have received at least one dose of booster vaccines, which is less than a third among those who have been vaccinated with COVID-19. The state’s recent COVID deaths are disproportionately due to those who have not been vaccinated, or are only partially vaccinated. This group accounted for over 47% COVID-19-related deaths in the state between April 12 and May 9. Full vaccinated Mississippians (defined as those who have received the booster) accounted for 17% of all deaths during that time. Only 30% of the deaths involved people who had been fully vaccinated, but not having received the booster. Another 5.9% of those who died were fully vaccinated, but not eligible for the booster. The state’s hospitalization rate has declined as more patients are admitted, but that is a poor indicator. According to the health department, COVID patients still require ventilators and beds in intensive care units. Since January, Mississippi has seen a dramatic increase in the availability of oral antiviral treatment for COVID-19 (such as Paxlovid or molnupiravir) and this has resulted in fewer hospitalizations. Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to clarify the definitions of deaths due to vaccination status.