Monday, November 9, 2020
Another concerning sign of COVID-19 spread is emerging from the Mississippi State Department of Health’s daily coronavirus reports. Over the weekend, MSDH logged 1,320 new cases of COVID-19, a remarkably high number for Saturday and Sunday. Many private labs do not report results over the weekend, artificially deflating the numbers.
Saturday’s 804 new cases in particular represent a higher weekend report than any other than the worst weekend of late July, when viral spread reached a deadly high. That spike helped overwhelm the state’s hospitals in August.
With today’s cases, Mississippi’s rolling seven-day average of new infections is 906, the highest since Aug. 10. State health leadership has repeatedly warned that family events have driven much of the recent spread, cautioning Mississippians against close-knit gatherings for the holidays.
In a Nov. 4 interview with Jackson Free Press, State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers warned Mississippians to take the danger of the virus seriously when considering holiday plans. “The take-home message in all of this is that transmission can occur anywhere, at any time that you are in close contact (with someone else),” he said.
As of press time, Gov. Tate Reeves has not released additional masking or social-distancing orders for additional counties. Currently, masks and heightened social-distancing requirements are active in Benton, Carroll, Harrison, Jones, Leake, Madison, Marshall, Desoto, Jackson, Lee, Forrest, Lamar, Chickasaw, Claiborne, Itawamba and Neshoba counties.
Pfizer Vaccine Promising, President-Elect Announces COVID Task Force
Although the U.S. is awash in the grim news of rampant coronavirus spread, a hopeful sign emerged today from pharmaceutical giant Pfizer’s trials of its COVID-19 vaccine. Pfizer partnered with German biotechnology firm BioNTech to develop the vaccine and released data indicating that its vaccine showed a 90% reduction in symptomatic cases, compared to a control group.
Caution is vital in interpreting the results of a scientific study of this nature. The actual efficacy of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine may not match the promising results of the study, and the safety trials are not complete. It will be late November before enough patients in the study pass the two-month threshold needed to begin distributing the vaccine, even on a limited basis.
President-elect Joe Biden announced his incoming COVID-19 task force today, a panel of scientific experts including Dr. Rick Bright, the immunologist and Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority director who alleged in May that President Donald Trump suppressed his early warnings about COVID-19 by ousting him from his position.
Read the JFP’s coverage of COVID-19 at jacksonfreepress.com/covid19. Get more details on preventive measures here. Email state reporter Nick Judin at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @nickjudin.