June Leffler Published

W.Va. Tops 6,000 COVID-19 Deaths

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

More than 6,000 West Virginians have now died from COVID-19.

At every press briefing, Gov. Jim Justice reminds West Virginians to not forget those who died. Justice said Monday the number of deaths is arbitrary compared to the individual lives lost.

“I don’t want to pause at all, when we’ve gone past 6000 people… it’s nothing that we want to give any level of salute or whatever to losing 6000 or 5000. It’s tragic, and so we just got to keep moving on,” Justice said.

West Virginia is on the down slope of the omicron surge. The seven-day average of new COVID-19 cases has fallen 53 percent in the past two weeks. Hospitalizations have fallen 29 percent.

Deaths naturally lag behind these other outcomes. This month the U.S. surpassed 900,000 COVID-19 deaths.

“Our hospital numbers are going down. But we also just exceeded 6000 deaths, which is really very, very sad, given that many of these deaths could have been prevented by people choosing to be fully vaccinated and boosted,” Coronavirus Czar Dr. Clay Marsh said.

Having both doses of the vaccine and a booster shot are 87 to 91 percent effective at keeping someone out of the hospital, according to a recent study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The same study says that efficacy does slightly wane four months after receiving the booster.

COVID-19 is the second leading cause of death in the U.S., surpassing cancer deaths and fatal drug overdose, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Appalachia Health News is a project of West Virginia Public Broadcasting with support from Charleston Area Medical Center and Marshall Health.