Racing for a Remedy Profile of a Killer

This 2020 electron microscope image provided by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases - Rocky Mountain Laboratories shows SARS-CoV-2 virus particles which causes COVID-19, isolated from a patient in the U.S., emerging from the surface of cells cultured in a lab. Coronaviruses, including the newest one, are named for the spikes that cover their outer surface like a crown, or corona in Latin. Using those club-shaped spikes, the virus latches on to the outer wall of a human cell, invades it and replicates, creating viruses to hijack more cells. (NIAID-RML via AP)

Coronavirus continue to challenge Kerr County and Peterson Health reported eight new cases on Tuesday. 

There are now eight Kerr County residents hospitalized at Peterson Regional Medical Center, including at least four in intensive care. This marks the largest number of hospitalizations for Peterson, and the four ICU patients have been hospitalized for more than a week. 

The coronavirus pandemic death toll continued to climb in Texas on Tuesday as another 167 people reportedly lost their lives.

This comes just one day after the state announced that it was revising the way it counts deaths associated with the virus — admitting that it had undercounted the number by nearly 700 people.

That number included the inclusion of two previously un-reported Kerr County deaths on July 8 and July 12. There is an error in the state's data by noting that a death occurred in Kerr County on March 26. Kerr County's first COVID-19 case was reported on April 1. 

The first reported death was a woman in her 70s on May 31 and the second death was an Ingram man, Evodio Medrano, who died on June 30. 

In Kerr County, there were just 26 active cases of the virus  and 332 recoveries. 

On Monday, the Texas Department of State Health Services said it was going to report data based on the actual date of death versus a batched number of total deaths it had previously reported. Here's how the DSHS explained it in the notes on its website: 

"DSHS data reflect the date of death, and the totals for previous days will change as death certificates are filed or amended. By law, death certificates must be filed within 10 days of death and may be amended later. DSHS will continue to provide the number of newly reported fatalities each day."

The way the data is now presented does show a plateau of daily deaths on July 12 and a gradual decline since then, but the data also demonstrates the severity of the crisis from July 2 through July 16 when more than 100 people died every day. In that 14-day period, according to the new data, 1,958 people died directly from COVID-19 in Texas. That's a greater number of deaths in just two weeks than influenza strains have claimed between 2014-2018 — a period that saw 1,896 people die from flu in Texas, according to the Centers for Disease Control. 

Since the reporting is reflective of the actual day of death recorded on a death certificate there can be a 10-day lag between determining that specificity of date and residence. 

Across the state, the number of new cases was back at more than 8,800 and hospitalizations fell below 10,000. However, the state is still warning that the data on hospitalizations is incomplete due to new reporting standards. 

(1) comment

Alan Pazdernik

the state was under reporting 700 deaths from the virus - how did we not know the numbers were sweep under abbotts rug

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