COVID-19 cases in Shelby County: Then vs. Now

Published: Aug. 5, 2021 at 2:34 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Covid-19 cases in Shelby County are on the rise, reaching higher daily numbers compared to the same day last year.

“This virus is a tremendous danger to people who are unvaccinated. It is probably more dangerous than once before,” said Dr. Steve Threlkend, an infectious disease expert with Baptist Memorial in Memphis.

Threlkeld says hospitalizations have not reached the peak seen earlier in the pandemic, but the rise of the Delta variant in a population that has not reached herd immunity remains the biggest threat.

“I think we’re unlikely to achieve the numbers we had before because so many people are vaccinated. But again, the counter to that is that so many people still are unvaccinated,” he said.

COVID-19 numbers are on an upward trajectory. There is a higher daily case count Thursday compared to the same day last year.

There were 197 new cases reported in Shelby County on August 5 in 2020. One year later 623 new cases have been reported in Shelby County.

In late July last year, the positivity rate was at 15.8 percent. In late July 2021 the positivity rate is slightly lower at 14.6 percent

Methodist Le Bonheur infectious disease expert Dr. Shirin Mazumder previously stated that the delta variant is also much more contagious compared to the virus spreading last summer.

“A person infected with the Delta variant can go onto infect up to nine other people, whereas the original version of the virus, one infected person could go onto infect up to two or three other people,” Dr. Mazumder said.

Younger people are also being hospitalized at a higher rate compared to last year.

“More people are making it to the ICU in their 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s,” said Dr. Threlkeld.

Doctors continue to say the vaccine protects against severe illness and hospitalization, but because the virus has mutated Dr. Threlkeld says that the vaccine is no longer as effective at preventing the spread of the virus.

“The vaccine is serving to protect you from illness,” he said, “But is no longer as good at protecting other people from you.”

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