It is easy to forget how terrible the spread of COVID-19 has been in America. The headlines more recently have focused on outbreaks in Brazil, India and Indonesia. However, there have been 34,765,992 confirmed cases in the United States, which is 18% of the global total. Fatal cases in America number 616,821, or about 15% of the world’s total.
The rate of COVID-19 vaccinations in the United States has slowed considerably. Nationwide, 60% of people 18 years or older are vaccinated. However, millions of people have refused. In some states, as many as half of the residents fall into this category. This is particularly true in some southern states. Only 44% of the people 18 years or older have been fully vaccinated in Mississippi. Other states on the low vaccination list include Alabama, Louisiana and Tennessee.
The vaccination problem has been exacerbated by the recent very rapid spread of the Delta variant. This variant spreads more than 50% faster than the version of the disease most prevalent in the United States through 2020 and early 2021. Unvaccinated Americans have been put at additional risk because of this much higher infection rate.
Lack of vaccination and the spread of the Delta variant have led to fears that cases will begin to surge. This already has begun to happen in Florida and Missouri.
When public health officials and the media look at the spread of the disease, they tend to focus on three numbers: cases, deaths and hospitalizations. To make comparisons of these from state to state and from county to county, they use a per-100,000 calculation. This allows experts to compare places with small populations to those that are larger.
Over the past seven days, the number of cases has jumped 583% in Stone County, Mississippi, to 128 per 100,000.
Stone County has 18,336 residents, according to Census Bureau population estimates. Of these, just over 76% are white and 19% are Black. Median household income is an extremely low $45,483, which is more than $20,000 below the national number. The 18.5% poverty rate is much higher than the national figure.