COVID-19 Deaths Rise in Some States as Holidays Approach

Some states in the US are reporting an increase in COVID-19 deaths as the holiday season approaches and the respiratory viral season sets in. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), eight states have seen a rise in COVID-19 deaths in the past week compared to the previous week.

Michigan has the highest COVID-19 death rate in the nation, with 43,537 deaths as of November 22, 2023. The state reported 1,659 new cases and 21 new deaths on Monday. Michigan’s governor, Gretchen Whitmer, has urged residents to get vaccinated and boosted, wear masks, and avoid large gatherings to prevent further spread of the virus.

COVID-19 Deaths Rise in Some States as Holidays Approach
COVID-19 Deaths Rise in Some States as Holidays Approach

Illinois, Missouri, and Tennessee Also See Uptick in COVID-19 Deaths

Illinois, Missouri, and Tennessee are among the other states that have experienced an increase in COVID-19 deaths in the past week. Illinois reported 42,005 deaths as of November 22, 2023, an increase of 0.8 percent from the previous week. Missouri reported 29,913 deaths, an increase of 0.5 percent. Tennessee reported 29,059 deaths, also an increase of 0.5 percent.

Experts Warn of Potential Surge in COVID-19 Cases and Deaths

Health experts have warned that the US could face another surge in COVID-19 cases and deaths as the holidays approach and people travel and gather indoors. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said that the US is not out of the woods yet and that the country needs to be prepared for the possibility of a “fifth wave” of infections.

Fauci also said that the emergence of new variants, such as the B.1.1.529 variant that was recently detected in South Africa, could pose a threat to the effectiveness of the vaccines and the treatments. He urged Americans to get vaccinated and boosted as soon as possible to protect themselves and their loved ones from the virus.

Vaccination Rates Vary Across States

The CDC data shows that the vaccination rates vary across states, with some states having higher rates than others. As of November 22, 2023, the national average of fully vaccinated people was 69.7 percent, while the national average of people who received a booster shot was 31.9 percent.

The states with the highest vaccination rates were Vermont (88.9 percent fully vaccinated, 54.9 percent boosted), Rhode Island (86.9 percent fully vaccinated, 49.4 percent boosted), and Maine (86.7 percent fully vaccinated, 48.4 percent boosted). The states with the lowest vaccination rates were Idaho (47.6 percent fully vaccinated, 16.8 percent boosted), West Virginia (49.4 percent fully vaccinated, 18.9 percent boosted), and Wyoming (50.1 percent fully vaccinated, 19.4 percent boosted).

How to Stay Safe During the Holidays

The CDC has issued some guidance on how to stay safe and prevent the spread of COVID-19 during the holidays. Some of the recommendations are:

  • Get vaccinated and boosted if you are eligible and have not done so already.
  • Wear a mask in public indoor settings, especially if you are in an area of high or substantial transmission.
  • Avoid crowded and poorly ventilated spaces, and opt for outdoor or virtual gatherings if possible.
  • If you are traveling, get tested one to three days before your trip and three to five days after your trip. Stay home and self-quarantine for seven days after your trip if you are not fully vaccinated or boosted.
  • Monitor your health and stay home if you are sick or have symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Follow local and state health regulations and restrictions.

By following these steps, you can help protect yourself and others from COVID-19 and enjoy the holidays safely and responsibly.

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