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Missouri COVID cases skyrocket following New Year's weekend

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – State health officials stopped updating its COVID-19 dashboard on Dec. 31 ahead of the New Year’s holiday. After three days of no new numbers, the state is reporting a monstrous increase in COVID cases as the virus spread at an unprecedented pace.

According to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS), the state has recorded 839,208 cumulative cases of SARS-CoV-2—an increase of 23,374 positive cases (PCR testing only)—and 13,125 total deaths as of Monday, Jan. 3, an increase of 12 from the day prior. That’s a case fatality rate of 1.56%.

If you were to average that single day over the last four days to spread things out over the days where there were no updates, Missouri would average 5,844 (rounded up) cases on those days. For added context, those days would all appear on the top 10 list for days with the most reported cases.

It’s important to keep in mind that not all cases and deaths recorded occurred in the last 24 hours.

The state has administered 105,556 doses—including booster shots—of the vaccine in the last 7 days (this metric is subject to a delay, meaning the last three days are not factored in). The highest vaccination rates are among people over 65.

State health officials report 61.0% of the total population has received at least one dose of the vaccine. Approximately 72.1% of all adults 18 years of age and older have initiated the process.

Vaccination remains the safest way to achieve herd immunity. Herd immunity for COVID-19 requires 80% to 90% of the population to have immunity, either by vaccination or recovery from the virus.

Just 2.69% of 3.3 million fully vaccinated Missourians (or 88,819 people) have tested positive for COVID-19 since Jan. 1, 2021. And 862 people (or 0.03%) of those vaccinated individuals have died from the virus.

The first doses were administered in Missouri on Dec. 13, 2020.

The city of Joplin has vaccinated 60% of its population. St. Louis City, Kansas City, and Independence, as well as the counties of St. Louis, St. Charles, Boone, Atchison, Jackson, and Franklin, have at least 50% of their populations fully vaccinated.

Month Cumulative case-fatality rate
on the final day of the month
March 2020 1.06%
April 2020 4.35%
May 2020 4.71%
June 2020 4.71%
July 2020 2.52%
August 2020 1.81%
September 2020 1.68%
October 2020 1.65%
November 2020 1.28%
December 2020 1.41%
January 2021 1.47%
February 2021 1.66%
March 2021 1.74%
April 2021 1.74%
May 2021 1.77%
June 2021 1.77%
July 2021 1.70%
August 2021 1.68%
September 2021 1.70%
October 2021 1.71%
November 2021 1.70%
December 2021 1.61%
(Source: Missouri Dept. of Health and Senior Services)

The Bureau of Vital Records at DHSS performs a weekly linkage between deaths to the state and death certificates to improve quality and ensure all decedents that died of COVID-19 are reflected in the systems. As a result, the state’s death toll will see a sharp increase from time to time. Again, that does not mean a large number of deaths happened in one day; instead, it is a single-day reported increase.

At the state level, DHSS is not tracking probable or pending COVID deaths. Those numbers are not added to the state’s death count until confirmed in the disease surveillance system either by the county or through analysis of death certificates.

The 7-day rolling average for cases in Missouri sits at 5,456; yesterday, it was 3,294. Exactly one month ago, the state rolling average was 2,254. 

The 10 days with the most reported cases occurred between Oct. 10, 2020, and Jan. 3, 2022.

Approximately 50.7% of all reported cases are for individuals 39 years of age and younger. The state has further broken down the age groups into smaller units. The 18 to 24 age group has 101,138 recorded cases, while 25 to 29-year-olds have 72,467 cases.

People 80 years of age and older account for approximately 41.3% of all recorded deaths in the state.

Month / Year Missouri COVID cases*
(reported that month)
March 2020 1,327
April 2020 6,235
May 2020 5,585
June 2020 8,404
July 2020 28,772
August 2020 34,374
September 2020 41,416
October 2020 57,073
November 2020 116,576
December 2020 92,808
January 2021 66,249
February 2021 19,405
March 2021 11,150
April 2021 12,165
May 2021 9,913
June 2021 12,680
July 2021 42,780
August 2021 60,275
September 2021 45,707
October 2021 33,855
November 2021 37,594
December 2021 74,376
January 2022 23,374
(Source: Missouri Dept. of Health and Senior Services)

Missouri has administered 8,493,158 PCR tests for COVID-19 over the entirety of the pandemic and as of Jan. 2, 18.0% of those tests have come back positive. People who have received multiple PCR tests are not counted twice, according to the state health department.

According to the state health department’s COVID-19 Dashboard, “A PCR test looks for the viral RNA in the nose, throat, or other areas in the respiratory tract to determine if there is an active infection with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. A positive PCR test means that the person has an active COVID-19 infection.”

The Missouri COVID Dashboard no longer includes the deduplicated method of testing when compiling the 7-day moving average of positive tests. The state is now only using the non-deduplicated method, which is the CDC’s preferred method. That number is calculated using the number of tests taken over the period since many people take multiple tests. Under this way of tabulating things, Missouri has a 27.3% positivity rate as of Dec. 31. Health officials exclude the most recent three days to ensure data accuracy when calculating the moving average.

The 7-day positivity rate was 4.5% on June 1, 10.2% on July 1, 15.0% on Aug. 1, and 13.2% on Dec. 1.

As of Dec. 31, Missouri is reporting 2,154 COVID hospitalizations and a rolling 7-day average of 2,251. The remaining inpatient hospital bed capacity sits at 18% statewide. The state’s public health care metrics lag behind by three days due to reporting delays, especially on weekends. Keep in mind that the state counts all beds available and not just beds that are staffed by medical personnel.

Across Missouri, 466 COVID patients are in ICU beds, leaving the state’s remaining intensive care capacity at 19%.

If you have additional questions about the coronavirus, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services is available at 877-435-8411.

As of Dec. 30, the CDC identified 53,795,407 cases of COVID-19 and 820,355 deaths across all 50 states and 9 U.S.-affiliated districts, jurisdictions, and affiliated territories, for a national case-fatality rate of 1.52%.

How do COVID deaths compare to other illnesses, like the flu or even the H1N1 pandemics of 1918 and 2009? It’s a common question.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), preliminary data on the 2018-2019 influenza season in the United States shows an estimated 35,520,883 cases and 34,157 deaths; that would mean a case-fatality rate of 0.09 percent. Case-fatality rates on previous seasons are as follows: 0.136 percent (2017-2018), 0.131 percent (2016-2017), 0.096 percent (2015-2016), and 0.17 percent (2014-2015).

The 1918 H1N1 epidemic, commonly referred to as the “Spanish Flu,” is estimated to have infected 29.4 million Americans and claimed 675,000 lives as a result; a case-fatality rate of 2.3 percent. The Spanish Flu claimed greater numbers of young people than typically expected from other influenzas.

Beginning in January 2009, another H1N1 virus—known as the “swine flu”—spread around the globe and was first detected in the US in April of that year. The CDC identified an estimated 60.8 million cases and 12,469 deaths; a 0.021 percent case-fatality rate.

For more information and updates regarding COVID mandates, data, and the vaccine, click here.

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