COVID Update: More than half-million cases now reported in Mississippi

Published 11:30 am Wednesday, October 20, 2021

More than a half-million cases of coronavirus COVID-19 have now been reported in Mississippi.

The Mississippi State Department of Health reported 448 new cases Wednesday morning, tipping the state’s total over the half-million mark and up to 500,286.

Eleven new deaths were also reported, pushing the state’s death toll to 9,968 and inching ever closer to 10,000 pandemic fatalities. If deaths continue at a similar rate from the past week, the mark could be hit by week’s end.

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Fourteen new cases were logged for Lincoln County. The county has now had 5,431 positive cases of the virus and 134 related deaths.

Across the state, 693 schools reported COVID-19 data for the week ending Oct. 15 — 397 new cases were reported among students K-12 and 86 new cases were reported for teachers and staff.

As of Sunday, 286 patients were hospitalized statewide for COVID — an additional 12 were hospitalized with suspected cases — and 183 were in intensive care units. Sixty-two of those were on ventilators.


Vaccine hesitancy

More than 1.35 million people in Mississippi have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Most cases, hospitalizations and deaths are now among those who are unvaccinated — 94% of cases, 88% of hospitalizations and 89% of deaths from Sept. 21 to Oct. 18.

A survey conducted by Quote Wizard recently found that 47% of Mississippians who have not received a vaccination are concerned about possible side effects. The number is down from 63% one week earlier.

The same survey concluded:

  • 29% don’t believe they need a vaccine, up from 14%
  • 21% are waiting to see if it’s safe, down from 37%
  • 49% don’t trust COVID-19 vaccines, up from 31%
  • 35% don’t trust the government, up from 26%
  • 13% don’t think COVID is a threat, up 5%

Among people without healthcare coverage, 17% are vaccine hesitant, compared to 9% among people with health insurance.

Men are somewhat more hesitant than women (11% vs. 9%) and white communities (11%) are more hesitant than most communities of color (black, 9%; Latino, 8%; Asian, 2%). People ages 18-39 are more hesitant (14%) than older groups — age 40-54 (11%); 55-65 (7%); and 65-plus (5%).

People with some college or an associate’s degree (11%) or higher degree (5%) are more likely to get the vaccine than people who have a high school diploma, GED or less (13%).