SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - It’s a grim milestone.
We’re nearly a year into the COVID-19 pandemic and have officially lost 500,000 people across the U.S. That number is breathtaking for some health leaders.
The director of the Coastal Health District explained to WTOC how our local cases contributed to half a million lives lost.
We’re is at 657. That’s how many people have died here in the Coastal Health District with COVID-19 as of Monday morning. 657 families forever changed because of the pandemic in our own backyard, but nationally half a million families won’t see their loved ones again.
“That’s a scary milestone and it’s way too many,” said Dr. Lawton Davis, Director of the Coastal Health District.
Dr. Lawton Davis says we have seen deaths increase recently after holiday get-togethers. Take, for example, two weeks ago the death count in Chatham County was 311, and Monday morning it was 337. He says the biggest factor of death from COVID-19 is age and comorbidities.
“It’s just we know that the older we are overall the poorer we fair if we contract COVID and I think that’s born out pretty well in our statistics.”
Of the deaths in the Coastal Health District, more than 85 percent happened to those over 60-years-old. Dr. Davis says early on in the fight against COVID there were outbreaks in long-term care facilities which accounted for several issues, but lead to the vaccine rollout priority groups.
Though he hasn’t done the data analysis yet, he believes we are seeing deaths less frequently thanks to the vaccine and better treatment options.
“In the Coastal Health District our death rate as of this morning is 105.6 per 100,000 and the state is 135.1. So, even though ours is too high it’s a little less than the state rate overall.”
As the vaccine rollout continues to serve those most vulnerable, Dr. Davis believes we must continue our public health efforts to protect others in our community.