Epidemiologist says Mississippi at worst of COVID battle, but no end in sight

Published 5:32 pm Friday, August 20, 2021

Mississippi’s state epidemiologist said Friday Mississippi’s battle with the rapidly spreading COVID-19 coronavirus is “about as bad of a situation as it can be” with no apparent signs of the wave slowing.

“We’re in the worst time, right now,” Dr. Paul Byers said. Friday during a Q&A session with the Mississippi State Medical Association. “Certainly we’re in a worse time than any time we’ve experienced previously. We’re in just about as bad of a situation as it can be.”

Byers said health officials have seen nothing to indicate the wave will slow anytime soon.

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“These numbers are staggering and they’re real,” he said. “We’re not showing any signs of peaking at the moment.”

Byers said the fastest-growing age group in the spread of the disease is in children.

“We’re seeing very high transmission, across the state,” he said. “The fastest-growing groups of cases are in the 5 to 17-year-olds. Over these last several weeks, we’ve seen a very rapid increase in cases among children.”

Children’s of Mississippi, the state’s only children’s hospital reported Friday morning the hospital was treating 30 children with COVID-19.

Mississippi reported more than 5,000 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday. The state has reported more than 62,700 cases so far in August.