Get the Daily News Digest in your inbox each morning. Sign Up

COVID-19 deaths slowly rising after case surge

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — After a long summer plateau, the number of COVID-19 deaths in Alabama is beginning to creep upward in the wake of a case surge fueled by low vaccinations rates and the highly contagious delta variant.

State Health Officer Scott Harris said Alabama is reporting double-digit death numbers for the first time in months. According to researchers at Johns Hopkins University, the seven-day rolling average of daily deaths in Alabama has risen to 21.43 deaths per day on Aug. 11.

The reported deaths are a reflection of virus transmission that was happening in the state a few weeks ago. Harris said they are expected to rise as the state experiences a surge in cases and hospitalizations.

“There’s no way that these numbers are not going to continue to increase because we are continuing to see these case numbers go up,” Harris said.

“Deaths are a lagging indicator. Deaths happen last. We see case numbers go up, we see hospitalizations go up and then we see deaths go up,” Harris said.

During the winter peak of the pandemic, the state saw more than 100 reported deaths per day. While virus case numbers have been rising quickly as they did at the pandemic’s peak, Harris noted that vaccination rates are higher in older, more vulnerable age groups.

“We feel better about the fact that are most vulnerable people are mostly vaccinated. That really helps a lot. It means they are much less likely to get sick or end up in the hospital,” Harris said.

Like other states, Alabama is seeing some vaccinated people becoming infected with the new variant, but health officials stressed few vaccinated people become hospitalized or severely ill.

Since April 1, the state has seen a total of 8,700 breakthrough cases, or about 10% of total cases, Harris said. But he said the percent of people who died from COVID-19 after being vaccinated is .001%

“The chances of dying after you’re vaccinated are extraordinarily uncommon,” he said. “It is so much more likely to become sick, ill hospitalized or die if you are an unvaccinated person who gets infected with COVID,” Harris said.

Get the Daily News Digest in your inbox each morning.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Web Development By Infomedia