December marks second month of ongoing state, county virus surge

Michael D. Smith

December has recorded more new COVID-19 cases and deaths than any other month in Oklahoma and Carter County. Average daily infections remained well above 3,000 through most of the holiday weekend, and average daily deaths linked to the disease remained over 20 for a third week.

December in Oklahoma has recorded 640 deaths linked to COVID-19, more than the first five months of the pandemic combined.

Oklahoma has recorded 282,587 cases of COVID-19 since March, after 3,448 new cases were reported by the Oklahoma State Department of Health on Monday. The seven-day average of new cases fell to 2,736 on Monday, down drastically from over 3,500 on Friday.

The true number of cases in Oklahoma is likely higher because many people have not been tested and studies suggest people can be infected and not feel sick.

While data reporting from the health department experienced expected delays due to Christmas, the trend of new confirmed cases and deaths linked to COVID-19 remain on pace to set December apart from previous record setting months.

December is on pace to record over 90,000 new cases of COVID-19, more than the first six months of the pandemic combined.

Nearly 85,000 new cases of the disease have already been recorded in Oklahoma since Dec. 1, compared to the 74,983 recorded in the entire month of November, according to OSDH data compiled by The Ardmoreite. December will be the fourth consecutive record-setting month of new confirmed cases in Oklahoma.

The statewide trend for new deaths linked to COVID-19 in December is equally grim, with 640 new deaths reported this month. The state health department recorded 406 virus-related deaths in November, and this month is the third consecutive record-setting month of new deaths in Oklahoma.

Carter County followed similar trends as fall turned into winter, with December on pace to record over 1,000 new local cases of COVID-19. December is also the fourth month that at least three deaths in the county linked to the disease were recorded.

December in Carter County is on pace to record 1,000 new cases of COVID-19.

A statewide surge in new reported infections that started in late October has accounted for over 43% of all cases since March. The surge has also accounted for well over half of all virus-related deaths in the state.

By Oct. 1, OSDH reported 88,369 total cases and a seven-day average of new cases just over 1,000. December has averaged about 3,000 new cases every day and is on pace to surpass 90,000 cases with Wednesday's update.

Four months this year have recorded at least three new virus-related deaths in Carter County.

Similarly, OSDH reported 1,035 total virus-related deaths on Oct. 1, with a seven-day average of new daily deaths well below 10. The seven-day average of new daily deaths has not fallen below 20 since Dec. 9 and almost 27% of all pandemic deaths since March have been recorded this month.

Active cases in Carter County and across Oklahoma remained near record highs with Monday's OSDH update. The seven-day average of active cases in the state remained above 35,000 on Monday, with 404 of them in Carter County.

Carter County recorded over 400 active cases of COVID-19 Monday.

On Nov. 1, about 15,000 cases of COVID-19 were active statewide, with about 164 of them in Carter County.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.