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536 Alabamians killed by COVID-19 in August

An individual face medical surgical mask on Alabama State flag Background. Health mask. Protection against COVID-19 virus, influenza, SARS, Coronavirus

Over the weekend, the Alabama Department of Public Health confirmed an additional 50 deaths from COVID-19, taking the state’s COVID death toll to 2,067.

With just one day left August, at least 536 deaths have been reported this month alone.

August trails only the month of July in the number of Alabamians killed by COVID-19. 605 Alabamians died in July from COVID-19.

The pandemic killed 297 Alabamians in June, 358 in May, 249 in April and 13 in March. The state averaged nearly 17.9 deaths from COVID-19 in the month of August, a decrease from July when more than 19.5 Alabamians a day died from the pandemic.

When the pandemic began, many Americans, including some public health officials and elected leaders, thought that the novel strain of the coronavirus would lessen in the summer heat, much like the flu fades away in late March.

Those predictions have proved false. At least 1,438 Alabamians perished from the virus over the summer. Public health officials are concerned about what might happen if coronavirus cases keep spreading and remain a serious threat when flu season begins this fall.

The ADPH on Sunday reported that another 1,172 people tested positive for the coronavirus. At least 31,178 Alabamians have tested positive in August. That is an average of 1,039 cases per day for the month.

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The rate of new cases in August is down dramatically from July, when 47,742 Alabamians tested positive for the virus — an average of 1,540 Alabamians a day.

Public health officials are crediting Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey’s statewide mask order on July 14 for the drop in the rate of spread of the virus.

There are some concerns by health experts that Alabamians may ignore the social distancing protocols over the Labor Day Weekend much like they did over the Fourth of July week.

Cases and deaths peaked in the weeks after Independence Day festivities.

The number of Alabamians hospitalized with complications from COVID-19 has continued to drop. At least 969 Alabamians were in the hospital with COVID-19 on August 30, the most recent day that ADPH has reported data for.

On July 31, 1,596 Alabamians were hospitalized. This is a 37.2 percent decrease over the course of the month.

Health care workers continue to be heavily impacted by the virus. To date, there have been 6,789 Alabama health care workers who have been diagnosed with the coronavirus, and 1,479 of those health care workers were diagnosed in the month of August.

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There were several outbreaks in long-term care facilities in Alabama in August and July. To date, 5,228 residents of Alabama’s long-term care facilities have contracted the coronavirus. 2,709 long-term care facility employees have also been diagnosed with the virus.

Nationally, long-term care residents make up less than one percent of the American population, but they represent over 41 percent of the COVID-19 deaths in this country.

At least 77 percent of Alabama’s COVID-19 deaths have been in persons aged 65 and over. More than 99 percent of Alabama’s COVID-19 deaths have been among those aged 25 or older.

There have been only seven Alabamians killed by COVID-19 from infant to age 24. At least 41 percent of Alabama’s COVID-19 deaths have been among Black people, even though Black people make up just 27 percent of the state’s population.

White people are 69 percent of the state’s population but 53 percent of the COVID-19 deaths. At least 4 percent are of an unknown race, and less than one percent are Asian. Two percent are of other races.

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey, with the blessing of State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris, on Thursday, extended the statewide “safer-at-home” order, including the mask mandate, through Oct. 2.

Citizens are advised to continue to stay at least six feet from persons outside of their household at all times, wash their hands frequently and avoid unnecessary trips outside of their homes.

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To date, 849,128 people have perished in the pandemic, including 187,179 Americans. Since the virus was first identified in December of 2019, 25,329,880 people worldwide have been diagnosed with the coronavirus.

Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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