Chris Schulz Published

Milestone COVID-19 Deaths A Reminder Pandemic Isn’t Over

A computer rendering of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

As of Tuesday, more than 7,500 West Virginians have died from COVID-19, a reminder that the pandemic is not over.

According to data published by the New York Times, West Virginia has the fourth highest COVID-19 death rate of any state in the country. Only Mississippi, Arizona and Alabama rank higher.

For every 100,000 West Virginians, 418 have died from COVID-19, higher than the national average of 321 deaths per 100,000 residents.

COVID-19 deaths have slowed. Seven hundred fewer West Virginians died over the past 12 months than during the same period the previous year.

That may be in part to more vaccination, but with a vaccination rate of 59 percent, West Virginia lags well behind the national average vaccination rate of 68 percent.

If West Virginia continues at this rate, COVID-19 deaths could surpass 10,000 by the end of 2023.

Recent trends have pointed towards an improvement across the state. The 7-day death average has remained in the single digits since March, and hospitalizations are on a downward trend after a concerning summer surge. Active cases have also remained under 1,000 for the past week.

However as temperatures continue to drop, state leaders have expressed concern that colder weather and a resurgent influenza virus will bring another wave of death this winter.