Vaccinations continue at a slower pace in Missouri

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — COVID vaccinations have continued across Missouri — albeit at a much slower pace than during the rise of the omicron variant — with Jefferson County having vaccinated 50% of its population.

According to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS), the state has had 1,125,085 cumulative cases of SARS-CoV-2, an increase of 463 positive cases (PCR test only) and 15,417 deaths in total as of Sunday March 6. This is a fatality rate of 1.37%.

It is important to keep in mind that not all cases and deaths announced on a particular day have occurred in the last 24 hours.

The 7-day rolling average for cases in Missouri sits at 458; yesterday it was 458. Exactly a month ago, the state’s moving average was 3,320.

The state health department no longer updates the dashboard on weekends; cases, deaths and the moving average remain the same for the three-day period.

(Source: Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services)

The state has administered 19,674 doses — including boosters — of the vaccine in the past 7 days (this metric is subject to lag, meaning the past three days are not counted). The highest vaccination rates are for people over 65.

Vaccination remains the surest way to achieve herd immunity. Herd immunity against COVID-19 requires 80-90% of the population to be immune, either through vaccination or recovery from the virus.

State health officials report that 63.3% of the total population has received at least one dose of the vaccine. About 74.3% of all adults 18 and older have started the process.

But how many tested positive and died of COVID after getting all their shots?

Only 8.02% of the 3.44 million fully vaccinated Missourians (or 276,368 people) have tested positive for COVID-19 since Jan. 1, 2021. And 1,606 people (or 0.05%) of those vaccinated people are died from the virus.

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

The city of Joplin, St. Louis County and St. Charles County have vaccinated at least 60% of their population. St. Louis City, Kansas City and Independence, as well as Boone, Atchison, Jackson, Franklin, Cole, Greene and Jefferson counties have at least 50% of their population fully immunized.

The DHSS Bureau of Vital Records performs a weekly link between in-state deaths and death certificates to improve quality and ensure that all people who have died from COVID-19 are reflected in the systems. As a result, the death toll in the state will see a sharp increase from time to time. Again, this does not mean that a large number of deaths occurred in a single day; rather, it is a reported single-day increase.

At the state level, DHSS tracks probable or pending COVID deaths. However, those numbers aren’t added to the state’s death toll until they’re confirmed in the disease surveillance system, either by the county or through analysis of death certificates. FOX 2 does not include probable or pending numbers.

About 51.9% of all reported cases are in people 39 and younger. The state has further broken down age groups into smaller units. The 18-24 age group has 132,857 recorded cases, while the 25-29 age group has 97,491 cases.

People 80 and older account for about 39.5% 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 255,880
February 2022 51,380
March 2022 1991
(Source: Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services)

Missouri administered 9,660,049 PCR tests for COVID-19 throughout the duration of the pandemic and as of March 1, 22.0% of those tests came back positive. People who 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 viral RNA in the nose, throat, or other areas of the respiratory tract to determine if there is an active infection. by SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. A positive PCR test means the person has an active COVID-19 infection.”

The Missouri COVID Dashboard no longer includes the deduplicated testing method when compiling the 7-day moving average of positive tests. The state now only uses the non-deduplicated method, which is the CDC’s preferred method. This number is calculated using the number of tests performed during the period, as many people take multiple tests. According to this way of tabulating things, Missouri has a 5.1% positivity rate as of March 1. Health officials exclude the last three days to ensure data accuracy when calculating the moving average.

The 7-day positivity rate was 4.5% on June 1, 15.0% on August 1, and 13.2% on December 1, 2021.

As of March 1, Missouri is reporting 1,202 COVID hospitalizations. Remaining inpatient hospital bed capacity sits at 19% statewide. Public health metrics for the state are three days behind due to reporting delays, particularly on weekends. Keep in mind that the state counts all available beds, not just beds with medical personnel.

Across Missouri, 245 COVID patients are in critical care beds, leaving the state’s remaining critical care capacity at 23%.

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

As of March 5, the CDC has identified 79,078,932 cases of COVID-19 and 955,135 deaths in all 50 states and 9 districts, jurisdictions, and affiliated territories in the United States, for a national case fatality rate of 1.21%.

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

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), preliminary data for the 2018-2019 flu season in the United States shows an estimated 35,520,883 cases and 34,157 deaths; this would mean a case fatality rate of 0.09%. Case fatality rates from previous seasons are as follows: 0.136% (2017-2018), 0.131% (2016-2017), 0.096% (2015-2016) and 0.17% (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; a fatality rate of 2.3%. The Spanish flu produced more young people than is generally expected for other flus.

Starting in January 2009, another H1N1 virus, known as ‘Swine Flu’, spread around the world and was first detected in the United States in April of the same year. The CDC has identified about 60.8 million cases and 12,469 deaths; a fatality rate of 0.021%.

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

Edward K. Thompson