Missouri's COVID Death Rate Among
Nation's Worst

Jim Salter, Associated Press

August 17, 2021

Editor's note: Find the latest COVID-19 news and guidance in Medscape's Coronavirus Resource Center.

The summer surge of COVID-19 is causing a spike in deaths in Missouri, including 124 reported Tuesday.

The state health department said 86 of those deaths were discovered in the department's weekly examination of death certificates from across the state. One of those deaths was in June, 52 in July and 33 earlier this month.

But 38 of the deaths were new, an unusually high one-day total. According to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published Tuesday, Missouri ranked fourth in per capita deaths over seven days, and that doesn't include the 124 additional deaths.

CDC information shows Louisiana has the worst seven-day COVID-19 death rate with six deaths per 100,000 residents, followed by Arkansas (5.5 deaths per capita), Nevada (4.3 deaths per capita) and Missouri (3.3 deaths per capita).

The delta variant began ravaging Missouri in June, causing a big rise in cases, hospitalizations and deaths. Experts lay much of the blame on Missouri's low vaccination rate. The CDC says 50.2% of Missourians have initiated vaccination, compared to 59.8% of all Americans.

The state health department dashboard showed 1,501 new cases on Tuesday, bringing the pandemic total to 604,336. Missouri has reported 10,152 deaths.

Hospitalizations continue to rise and remain at their highest level since the winter with 2,380 people hospitalized statewide, including 660 in intensive care units and 382 on ventilators.

Concerns about the spread of the virus have prompted the cancellation of Ozarks Pridefest for the second straight year. Organizers announced the decision Monday, citing the "overwhelming number of hospitalizations caused by COVID-19."

Towns and school districts continue to debate the merits of a mask mandate. In the Kansas City area, the Independence City Council voted down a mandate, but the school board for the Park Hill district voted Monday to require a mask for students and staff when schools open for the fall next week.

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