After a second dose of the COVID-19 mRNA vaccine, a swarm of antibodies attacks the virus. Photo by Kateryna Kon | Science Photo Library via Getty Images
The number of daily reported COVID-19 cases soared to more than 14,000 Monday, the second-most since the pandemic began, surpassed only by the 17,000 reported exactly one year ago.
The large number of cases amid the surge of the omicron variant, which has been escalating in recent weeks, but the Arizona Department of Health Services said that the high number is also reflective of some cases not being processed on New Year’s Day.
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Over the past week, the state has averaged 5,051 new cases of COVID-19 and 53 deaths per day. January 2021 holds the record as the worst month of the pandemic for the state, as the state grappled with a surge in cases through the winter months.
It appears that a similar trend is happening to begin 2022, as case numbers continue to rise. Since Christmas, the 7-day average for COVID-19 cases has risen from 2,949 cases a day to more than 5,000. The surge is being driven by the highly infectious omicron variant, according to data from T-Gen.
The research institute, which sequences genetic material from COVID-19 tests to see which variants of the virus are present in the state, provides the data on its website and breaks it down month by month.
In November, no omicron variants were detected. But by Dec. 21, the variant made up nearly 8% of all samples. TGen’s testing finds that the deadly delta variant still makes up the vast majority of Arizona COVID-19 cases, but Arizona State University’s Biodesign Institute has found that more than 87% of positive cases in late December showed the genetic marker unique in the omicron variant.
An independent analysis found COVID-19 to be the leading cause of death in the state in 2020.
An analysis of more than 120,000 hospitalizations over a four-month period in 2021 found that the majority of those hospitalized were unvaccinated and those who had been vaccinated who had breakthrough infections were mostly elderly individuals who had other complications. Still, fewer vaccinated individuals required interventions such as ventilators or experienced respiratory failure, unlike their unvaccinated counterparts.
Additionally, a report released by the Arizona Department of Health Services found that unvaccinated individuals were 3.9 times more likely to contract COVID and 15.2 times more likely to die from the virus in October.
The vast majority of Arizona’s elderly population is vaccinated against the virus and Arizona’s vaccination rate sits currently at 58% of the state being fully vaccinated, putting the state in 29th place for it’s vaccination rate by population.
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