May 13, 2022: The president ordered flags at half staff this weekend to mark a tragic milestone: one million American deaths from COVID-19. In comparison, an estimated 675,000 Americans died from the Spanish flu.
And the number of cases are still climbing more than two years into the pandemic. More than 1,000 cases were reported in Berkshire County in the past week, up from 686 the week before. The positive numbers haven't been this high since January. The state saw its numbers jump by 10,000, the largest spike since the beginning of the year.
The Berkshires reported 1,071 new cases for a total of 26,169 and the state 29,596 for a total of 1,663,904. There were two deaths in the county for a toll of 378 and 71 in the state, for a total of 19,252.
Hospitalizations have also risen, albeit at a very slow rate. There 729 patients statewide but only 223, or 31 percent, were in the hospital primarily for COVID-19 and 237, or 33 percent, were not fully vaccinated.
BMC reported 16 patients; based on the state percentage, about five were there for the virus.
Pittsfield has the highest numbers again with 11,681 cases, up 488 from last week, and has more than 350 active cases.
For the two weeks ending May 7, North Adams reported 128 new cases for a total of 2,783; Williamstown 115 (1,571) new cases and Great Barrington 70 (1,370). Williams College had 61 new positive cases in the last week.
May 5, 2022: Despite one of the highest rates of vaccination in the country, the latest variant of the novel coronavirus is spreading quickly through the population. The number of cases in the Pittsfield schools have officials considering switching back to virtual learning or re-imposing masking.
The county recorded 686 new cases in the last week, up from 481 the before, for a total of 25,098 to date; the state's number was 19,501, up more than 3,000 from the week before for a total of 1,634,308.
The state's seven-day average positive rate is now 6.17 percent and the county's 14-day average is 6.44 percent.
Pittsfield is red zone with 11,193 total cases, up 316 from last week, and recorded on Thursday its first death since the end of January.
Williamstown had the next highest number of cases for the two weeks ending April 30 at 120 (1,496), North Adams reported 92 (2,705), with Lee third at 51 (1,094).
The county now has 376 deaths to date and nine patients at BMC. There are 547 positive patients statewide, up about a 100 from last week, but the percentages of those hospitalized primarily for the virus and who are not vaccinated remains about the same 37 and 35 percent, respectively.
The data still shows that the number of infections in vaccinated individuals is less than 10 percent. This week, state Sen. Adam Hinds, who has been campaigning for lieutenant governor, tested positive. He said he has mild symptoms and is isolating. The senator is vaccinated and boosted.
Nationally, the number of deaths is nearing 1,000,000 (some outlets were reporting this number was crossed earlier this week). The Johns Hopkins University COVID-19 dashboard has 996,865 deaths as of Thursday, and 81,675,629 cases total. The United States is also climbing in the 28-day average for new cases. It had been out of the top 10 for more than a month but is now at No. 5, below Germany, South Korea, France and Italy.
April 28, 2022: The number of positive cases keep climbing but deaths and hospitalizations continue to lag as compared to the spikes that occurred last year.
Nearly 14.5 million doses of vaccine have been administered and 5.4 million of the state's 6.9 million residents have been fully inoculated. More than 260,000 have received a second booster.
With nearly 80 percent of population vaccinated and more half boosted, it's little surprise that the novel coronavirus isn't affecting much of the population. The seven-day average positive rate is now 5.04 percent and is probably much higher since at-home rapid tests aren't being counted.
There's five positive patients at BMC and 431 statewide, up 100 from last week but only a third are being primarily treated for COVID-19. There are 431 patients, 166 (39 percent) who are not fully vaccinated and 134 who are being treated for the virus. There are 31 patients in intensive care and 10 intubated. Two years ago, there were more than 1,000 patients in ICUs across the state; a year ago, 461.
Deaths from COVID-19 among vaccinated individuals is 0.04 percent and hospitalizations are at 0.15 percent. Fewer than 10 percent of the 5.4 million vaccinated individuals have been reported as positive.
The Berkshires reported 481 cases, up from 366 the week before, with 93 reported on Thursday. Pittsfield had the highest number of cases in the two weeks ending April 23 with 252 (total now 10,877) and Williamstown had 139 (1,454). Again, Williamstown's numbers appear to be driven by Williams College, which reported 63 new cases in the past week. North Adams had 72 (2,649) and all others 40 or fewer.
The state reported 16,266 cases this past week for a total to date of 1,614,807. The national numbers are now 81,239,310 total cases and 993,047 deaths.