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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – As COVID case totals stay near record highs in Missouri, the state’s case-fatality rate—the ratio of diagnosed cases ending in death—has declined over time as more people contract the virus and survive. However, it is important to understand that the increase in cases has also led to rapid growth in COVID hospitalizations, further straining the healthcare industry.

According to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS), the state has recorded 954,485 cumulative cases of SARS-CoV-2—an increase of 31 positive cases (PCR testing only)—and 13,535 total deaths as of Sunday, Jan. 16, no increase from the day prior. That’s a case fatality rate of 1.42%.

It’s important to keep in mind that not all cases and deaths announced on a particular day occurred in the last 24 hours.

There will be no data update on Monday, Jan. 17, in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

MonthCumulative case-fatality rate
on the final day of the month
March 20201.06%
April 20204.35%
May 20204.71%
June 20204.71%
July 20202.52%
August 20201.81%
September 20201.68%
October 20201.65%
November 20201.28%
December 20201.41%
January 20211.47%
February 20211.66%
March 20211.74%
April 20211.74%
May 20211.77%
June 20211.77%
July 20211.70%
August 20211.68%
September 20211.70%
October 20211.71%
November 20211.70%
December 20211.61%
(Source: Missouri Dept. of Health and Senior Services)

The state has administered 112,487 doses—including booster shots—of the vaccine in the last 7 days (this metric is subject to a delay, meaning the last three days are not factored in). The highest vaccination rates are among people over 65.

State health officials report 61.9% of the total population has received at least one dose of the vaccine. Approximately 72.9% of all adults 18 years of age and older have initiated the process.

Vaccination remains the safest way to achieve herd immunity. Herd immunity for COVID-19 requires 80% to 90% of the population to have immunity, either by vaccination or recovery from the virus.

Just 4.81% of 3.35 million fully vaccinated Missourians (or 161,228 people) have tested positive for COVID-19 since Jan. 1, 2021. And 956 people (or 0.03%) of those vaccinated individuals have died from the virus.

The first doses were administered in Missouri on Dec. 13, 2020.

The city of Joplin and St. Louis County have vaccinated at least 60% of their populations. St. Louis City, Kansas City, and Independence, as well as the counties of St. Charles, Boone, Atchison, Jackson, Franklin, and Cole, have at least 50% of their populations fully vaccinated.

The Bureau of Vital Records at DHSS performs a weekly linkage between deaths to the state and death certificates to improve quality and ensure all decedents that died of COVID-19 are reflected in the systems. As a result, the state’s death toll will see a sharp increase from time to time. Again, that does not mean a large number of deaths happened in one day; instead, it is a single-day reported increase.

At the state level, DHSS does track probable or pending COVID deaths. However, those numbers are not added to the state’s death count until confirmed in the disease surveillance system either by the county or through analysis of death certificates. FOX 2 does not include probable or pending numbers.

The 7-day rolling average for cases in Missouri sits at 9,028; yesterday, it was 9,575. Exactly one month ago, the state rolling average was 2,111. 

Approximately 51.6% of all reported cases are for individuals 39 years of age and younger. The state has further broken down the age groups into smaller units. The 18 to 24 age group has 115,311 recorded cases, while 25 to 29-year-olds have 83,701 cases.

People 80 years of age and older account for approximately 40.9% of all recorded deaths in the state.

Month / YearMissouri COVID cases*
(reported that month)
March 20201,327
April 20206,235
May 20205,585
June 20208,404
July 202028,772
August 202034,374
September 202041,416
October 202057,073
November 2020116,576
December 202092,808
January 202166,249
February 202119,405
March 202111,150
April 202112,165
May 20219,913
June 202112,680
July 202142,780
August 202160,275
September 202145,707
October 202133,855
November 202137,594
December 202174,376
January 2022138,654
(Source: Missouri Dept. of Health and Senior Services)

Missouri has administered 8,864,829 PCR tests for COVID-19 over the entirety of the pandemic and as of Jan. 15, 19.8% of those tests have come back positive. People who have received multiple PCR tests are not counted twice, according to the state health department.

According to the state health department’s COVID-19 Dashboard, “A PCR test looks for the viral RNA in the nose, throat, or other areas in the respiratory tract to determine if there is an active infection with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. A positive PCR test means that the person has an active COVID-19 infection.”

The Missouri COVID Dashboard no longer includes the deduplicated method of testing when compiling the 7-day moving average of positive tests. The state is now only using the non-deduplicated method, which is the CDC’s preferred method. That number is calculated using the number of tests taken over the period since many people take multiple tests. Under this way of tabulating things, Missouri has a 34.0% positivity rate as of Jan. 13. Health officials exclude the most recent three days to ensure data accuracy when calculating the moving average.

The 7-day positivity rate was 4.5% on June 1, 15.0% on Aug. 1, and 13.2% on Dec. 1, 2021.

As of Jan. 11, Missouri is reporting 3,526 COVID hospitalizations and a rolling 7-day average of 3,280. The remaining inpatient hospital bed capacity sits at 17% statewide. The state’s public health care metrics lag behind by three days due to reporting delays, especially on weekends. Keep in mind that the state counts all beds available and not just beds that are staffed by medical personnel.

Across Missouri, 715 COVID patients are in ICU beds, leaving the state’s remaining intensive care capacity at 15%.

If you have additional questions about the coronavirus, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services is available at 877-435-8411.

As of Jan. 15, the CDC identified 65,159,554 cases of COVID-19 and 847,577 deaths across all 50 states and 9 U.S.-affiliated districts, jurisdictions, and affiliated territories, for a national case-fatality rate of 1.30%.

How do COVID deaths compare to other illnesses, like the flu or even the H1N1 pandemics of 1918 and 2009? It’s a common question.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), preliminary data on the 2018-2019 influenza season in the United States shows an estimated 35,520,883 cases and 34,157 deaths; that would mean a case-fatality rate of 0.09 percent. Case-fatality rates on previous seasons are as follows: 0.136 percent (2017-2018), 0.131 percent (2016-2017), 0.096 percent (2015-2016), and 0.17 percent (2014-2015).

The 1918 H1N1 epidemic, commonly referred to as the “Spanish Flu,” is estimated to have infected 29.4 million Americans and claimed 675,000 lives as a result; a case-fatality rate of 2.3 percent. The Spanish Flu claimed greater numbers of young people than typically expected from other influenzas.

Beginning in January 2009, another H1N1 virus—known as the “swine flu”—spread around the globe and was first detected in the US in April of that year. The CDC identified an estimated 60.8 million cases and 12,469 deaths; a 0.021 percent case-fatality rate.

For more information and updates regarding COVID mandates, data, and the vaccine, click here.