CDC says COVID-19 is the 3rd leading cause of death in the U.S., South Ga. sees impacts

The death rates have dropped, but COVID-19 is still affecting many people.
Published: Jan. 17, 2023 at 9:04 PM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - COVID-19 has taken over 1 million American lives. Although some may be tired of hearing about COVID-19, it is still impacting many lives, on an everyday basis around the world.

According to the CDC, COVID-19 has been the third leading cause of death in the U.S. for the past two years.

The number of Americans who have died from COVID-19 has surpassed the number of people who have died from drug overdoses, which was the third leading cause of death before COVID.

“Now we’re not seeing the death range we saw during the last couple of years, but make no mistake about it, I believe last week there were nearly 4,000 deaths from COVID. So, certainly don’t mistake some sense of normalcy that the threat of coronavirus and the risk that it has to our population is completely gone,” Dr. James Black interim, chief medical officer at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital, said.

Dr. Black is the interim Chief Medical Officer at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital who has...
Dr. Black is the interim Chief Medical Officer at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital who has worked with several COVID patients over the years.(Source: WALB)

Dr. Black says taking advantage of the vaccines that are available is a major way to reduce death and the severity of illness.

“I think that a lot more information is coming out and as the numbers show, people that have been vaccinated have a shorter course and a less severe course. But also the death rate, when you compare those who have been vaccinated versus those who have not, is actually pretty striking,” Black said.

When asking South Georgia residents why they believe COVID is the third leading cause of death for two years now, one person responded to my Facebook post that reads, “Because we still haven’t quite figured out why it attacks everyone differently. You still get cases that have no symptoms and cases that come with every symptom to the point that it’s fatal.” Another person said, “I have had 4 family members get COVID in the past 30 days. This new variant is hitting home really fast.”

According to the CDC, studies show more effort to implement safer practices is needed to prevent COVID-19 deaths.

Some scientists are referring to the new COVID variant as “Kraken” because it spreads so fast. Some believe it is now the cause of the newest COVID-19 cases in the U.S.

It’s been three years since COVID-19 was introduced to the world. Since then, there have been several variants that now have sub-variants. Experts say this new variant may be the most transmissible.

“The newer variant that is out there is thought to be more infectious is not quite as virulent. It doesn’t cause the amount of death at the same rates. It still causes some death, but not at the same rate. Much more infective and transmissible than some of the previous variants. Knowing the preventives and the strategies to keep you safe and keep you healthy don’t change depending on the variant,” Black, said.

Black says they saw an uptick in cases after the holidays. He says the number of admitted patients at Phoebe is down to 22, but that’s still high from what they were seeing before the new variant.

“Fortunately, over the last couple weeks, we’ve seen a little bit of a downtrend in hospitalizations. We’ve seen the numbers come down, but until that number reaches zero, and until we stop having tests, we’re going to continue to pay attention and continue to monitor and do what’s best for our patients,” Black said.

Experts say although new variants are expected to surface, monitoring each variant is crucial to ensuring we are prepared.