Will your Christmas dinner table become coronavirus superspreader event?

Published 10:32 am Wednesday, December 23, 2020

As Mississippi reported another near-record high number of COVID-19 coronavirus cases and inches closer to a new monthly death toll record, state health officials are warning that Christmas dinner could be deadly.

Mississippi State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs urged Mississippians to limit Christmas and New Year’s gatherings to minimize virus spread.

“Please beware of the SILENT-SUPERSPREADER at your holiday table,” Dobbs wrote on social media Wednesday morning. “We catch COVID from people we love, people we know. It could be your cousin, your best friend, your nephew. It could even be you!

“MOST PEOPLE WHO SPREAD COVID DON’T KNOW THEY HAVE IT. Keep it small this holiday.”

The state reported on Wednesday 43 new deaths attributed to the virus. A total of 4,533 Mississippians have died from the virus, the state reported.

The average number of deaths reported per day during December is currently averaging 31.6, for a total of 726 deaths reported so far during the month, making December second only to August when the state reported 813 deaths. Note: Some deaths reported on a given day or in a given month may have occurred earlier, but were delayed in reporting.

The Mississippi State Department of Health reported 2,634 new cases on Wednesday. It was the third-highest number of cases in a single day.

The latest numbers bring the total cases since the pandemic began in March to 200,325.

Approximately 47,055 new cases have been confirmed in December, which is now the month with the highest number of new cases since the pandemic began in March. The high case load is an ominous sign for health care workers and hospital administrators already struggling with capacity problems.

Here’s a monthly new case breakdown:

Month New cases
June 11,746
July 31,496
August 24,203
September 15,240
October 21,970
November 33,111
December (month to date) 47,055

Of the total cases, the state believes approximately 154,669 have recovered and while many people who are infected with the virus may only have moderate or even no visible symptoms, others can get gravely ill and can die as a result.

Through Monday’s statistics, the state reported 1,267 confirmed COVID-19 patients were hospitalized with another 73 suspected, but not confirmed by test yet COVID patients also hospitalized. The state reported that across the state only 85 ICU beds were available, meaning that 90 percent of all ICU beds were filled. Of the ICU beds in use, approximately 41 percent were filled with confirmed COVID-19 patients.

“And this is before holiday celebrations,” Dobbs wrote on social media Tuesday morning.

If December’s pace of new cases and deaths continues evenly through the remainder of the month, the state may see as many as 60,000 cases or more, nearly double any prior month, and as many as 900 deaths.

The 7-day, daily average of new cases rose to 2,097 with Wednesday’s update.

The 14-day, daily average of new cases dropped slightly to 2,118 on Wednesday.

Cumulative Cases and Deaths by County

Totals of all reported COVID-19 cases for 2020, including those in long-term care (LTC) facilities.

The numbers in this table are provisional. County case numbers and deaths may change as investigation finds new or additional information. The data provided below is the most current available.

County Total Cases Total Deaths Total LTC Facility Cases Total LTC Facility Deaths
Adams 1738 57 72 15
Alcorn 1994 39 120 17
Amite 811 20 53 6
Attala 1598 43 166 28
Benton 627 20 45 10
Bolivar 3154 95 223 30
Calhoun 1028 16 25 4
Carroll 898 17 46 9
Chickasaw 1485 35 49 14
Choctaw 460 10 1 0
Claiborne 666 18 43 9
Clarke 1135 57 104 27
Clay 1220 30 20 3
Coahoma 1865 51 127 11
Copiah 2088 43 73 9
Covington 1729 65 124 38
De Soto 13485 128 104 20
Forrest 4923 94 204 42
Franklin 544 6 40 1
George 1632 34 48 7
Greene 949 25 51 6
Grenada 1883 59 146 28
Hancock 1797 53 68 14
Harrison 9864 139 452 51
Hinds 13153 248 656 94
Holmes 1532 64 103 20
Humphreys 688 22 33 8
Issaquena 143 4 0 0
Itawamba 2108 48 123 22
Jackson 8219 151 215 25
Jasper 1254 24 11 0
Jefferson 457 14 21 3
Jefferson Davis 721 22 8 1
Jones 4819 94 201 38
Kemper 636 19 43 9
Lafayette 3929 73 179 43
Lamar 3815 55 45 12
Lauderdale 4607 168 368 87
Lawrence 891 16 27 2
Leake 1846 49 72 9
Lee 7121 111 205 40
Leflore 2492 99 203 48
Lincoln 2397 74 166 36
Lowndes 3913 83 186 40
Madison 6665 127 303 58
Marion 1643 59 148 20
Marshall 2743 61 62 15
Monroe 2773 84 179 53
Montgomery 941 30 54 9
Neshoba 2829 134 182 55
Newton 1491 32 74 11
Noxubee 878 19 22 4
Oktibbeha 3141 69 204 32
Panola 2957 67 103 13
Pearl River 2320 79 143 30
Perry 808 30 20 7
Pike 2057 65 106 27
Pontotoc 2917 37 20 3
Prentiss 1939 41 99 15
Quitman 582 7 0 0
Rankin 8116 155 298 45
Scott 2004 38 35 4
Sharkey 377 17 43 8
Simpson 1875 59 150 19
Smith 951 18 55 8
Stone 1078 18 63 9
Sunflower 2288 59 90 15
Tallahatchie 1154 29 41 7
Tate 2261 56 79 19
Tippah 1833 40 78 5
Tishomingo 1472 51 101 26
Tunica 709 19 15 2
Union 2583 33 106 15
Walthall 932 33 67 13
Warren 2406 74 162 37
Washington 3929 112 187 39
Wayne 1570 25 66 10
Webster 671 17 56 11
Wilkinson 507 22 24 5
Winston 1716 44 105 27
Yalobusha 910 31 81 22
Yazoo 1985 50 138 17
Total 200,325 4,533 9,028 1,651