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Thanksgiving offers a glimmer of hope even as COVID-19 cases and deaths are in record territory



On Thanksgiving Day, the number of cumulative COVID-19 cases in the U.S. nears 13 million, and the people who have died from the virus number more than 260,000. Worldwide, a staggering 61 million cases and 1.4 million deaths have been reported. A total of 10 nations have reported cases of a million or more, but the U.S. has reported more cases and deaths than any other country for months.

The glimmer of hope is that the rate of increase for some U.S. states is slowing — particularly in the hard-hit Midwest — even if the reported cases, deaths and hospitalizations continue to rise in record numbers in other regions of the country. California and Texas, the most populace states, continue to report record breaking numbers. Since the beginning of November in the U.S., the seven-day average for new cases has doubled, and more than 2,000 deaths were reported Tuesday and Wednesday.

Mississippi reported another day of more than 1,000 cases Thursday, the 12th this month, and 18 additional deaths. The seven-day average went up again to more than 1,200 per day. Hospitalizations are increasing with new cases, threatening the state’s health care system. The numbers of Mississippians hospitalized is nearing 90% of the surge this past summer.

In Warren County, MSDH reported 15 new COVID-19 case Thursday and no new deaths. The cumulative number of cases in Warren County to date is 1,741, and the county’s death toll is 57.

Statewide, MSDH reported 1,746 new COVID-19 cases Thursday bringing the total cumulative confirmed cases in Mississippi to 147,382. The seven-day average of new cases is 1,227 per day, about 488 cases higher than the seven-day average a month ago and on par with numbers seen in July.

At the beginning of the crises, the age group with the most COVID-19 cases were those over 65. Now, most new cases are seen in younger people who are more likely to survive the virus than those 65 and older. In September, the age group reporting the most cases in Mississippi were 18 to 24 years old. That has shifted to a slightly older group. In November, the age group reporting the most cases in Mississippi are from 25 to 39 years old followed by those 50 to 64 years old.

MSDH reported Thursday that 18 more Mississippians died of COVID-19 statewide. The cumulative number of deaths in the state is 3,763. The state’s rate of deaths to confirmed cases is about 2.6%. This rate has dropped slightly as the number of cases are going up faster than the number of deaths at this time.

Deaths are a lagging indicator. While July saw the highest number of new cases since the crisis began, August saw the highest number of deaths. The highest number of deaths in any one day in Mississippi was 67 reported Aug. 25.

The 18 deaths MSDH reported Thursday occurred between Nov. 17 and Nov. 25 in the following counties:

County Deaths reported Thursday
Adams 1
Alcorn 1
Attala 1
Carroll 1
Covington 1
Desoto 2
Harrison 1
Hinds 1
Humphreys 1
Lauderdale 1
Lowndes 1
Neshoba 3
Oktibbeha 1
Rankin 2

New cases and deaths were reported to MSDH as of 6 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 23. MSDH usually reports statistics on the COVID-19 coronavirus each day based on the previous day’s testing and death reports.

The primary metric concerning state health officials are the numbers of people hospitalized, and that number rose steadily with the rise of new cases in July and August. On June 6, the number of Mississippians hospitalized with confirmed cases of COVID-19 was at 358. Hospitalizations tripled by late July.

Hospitalizations then steadily dropped through Oct. 3 when they began rising again along with increased cases. The last week in October, hospitalizations began levelling off; however, since Nov. 4 hospitals have seen a steady rise in COVID-19 patients once again.

The number of Mississippians hospitalized for the virus as of 6 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 24, was 1,039, about 87% of the late July peak of about 1,200. The number includes 942 with confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 97 people with suspected but unconfirmed cases. Of those with confirmed infections, 245 were critically ill and in intensive care units and 113 were on ventilators.

Source: MSDH

MSDH has estimated the number of people who can be presumed recovered from COVID-19 in Mississippi. That number is 121,637 through Sunday, Nov. 22. It represents about 82.5% of the cumulative 147,382 cases reported as of Thursday, Nov. 26.

The number of cases in Warren County three weeks ago, Thursday, Nov. 5, was 1,600, therefore the estimated number of people presumed recovered in the county is 1,543, or about 88.6% of the 1,741 cumulative cases reported as of Thursday, Nov. 26. The county has an estimated 141 active cases.

These estimates are based on MSDH’s guidelines for calculating estimated recoveries when hospitalizations are not known, using the number of cases 21 days ago, less known outcomes (deaths).

The total number of Mississippians tested for COVID-19 (PCR and antigen tests identifying current infections) as of Saturday, Nov. 21, is 1,237,802 or about 41.6% of the state’s 2.976 million residents. MSDH reports statewide test results once a week. Without daily updated numbers of tests, it is impossible to accurately calculate Mississippi’s positivity rate (positive results to tests, seven-day average); however, the estimated rate was 17% Wednesday, according to Johns Hopkins University. The national rate is 9.5%, and 5% or lower indicates adequate testing.

The total number of outbreaks in long-term care facilities was 193 Thursday, an increase of 35 since Wednesday. About 38%, or 1,424, of the state’s total deaths were people in long-term care facilities. The cumulative number of COVID-19 cases in LTC facilities was 7,521 Wednesday, about 5.2% of the state’s total cases.

A total of 26 deaths in Warren County were residents of LTC facilities.

MSDH is no longer reporting outbreaks in individual long-term care facilities in Mississippi and has replaced it with access to a database from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid. You can access and search the data by provider here. The latest data available is for the week ending Nov. 8.

For additional information, visit the MSDH website.

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