The U.S. on Monday was nearing the grim milestone of 800,000 COVID deaths, more than in any country on the planet. Alabama has the second-highest COVID death rate per capita in the nation, with those deaths totaling approximately the same population as Muscle Shoals.
Alabama is also the third least-vaccinated state in the country, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and cases are on the rise.
There have been 16,265 confirmed COVID deaths in Alabama, or 331 deaths per 100,000 residents, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which is behind only Mississippi.
Alabama’s COVID mortality rate per 100,000 is higher than the countries of Romania (298 per 100,000), Brazil (292), Slovakia (281), Poland (233), Mexico (232), Italy (233), United Kingdom (219), Ukraine (217), Russia (196), France (181), Greece (179), Germany (127), Turkey (94), Philippines (46), India (34) and Vietnam (28) according to an analysis by Johns Hopkins.
Medical experts worry that the new variant omicron, which they believe to be more infectious than the delta variant, will bring a new surge of infections.
Alabama’s seven-day average for new daily COVID cases reported to the Alabama Department of Public Health has increased from the post-summer surge low of 333 on Nov. 29 to 586 on Friday.
The number of Alabama counties with high levels of community spread of COVID increased from eight a week ago to 12 on Monday, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health’s tracking. All but two of those counties are located in North Alabama.
Dr. Suzanne Judd, a professor and epidemiologist at UAB, told reporters last week that she was concerned about a rise in cases in some Northern states that were beginning to spread South.
“Typically you see this geographic pattern. You can actually watch the virus as it moves from one county to the next, and we are starting to see those counties that border on the Ohio River Valley – They’re starting to see higher levels of COVID. Northern Alabama is starting to see higher levels of COVID than southern Alabama,” Judd said.