New cases of coronavirus rose sharply in both Middlesex County and the state last week as a new and highly contagious mutation takes hold.
Middlesex County reported 3,902 new cases last week, an increase of 42.1% from the 2,745 reported a week earlier, according to a U.S. TODAY Network analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University. Six deaths were reported last week, up from four a week before that. Throughout the pandemic, the county has reported 331,797 cases and 3,961 deaths.
The nationwide increase was even sharper, rising 51.7% to 14,469 new cases of the virus causing COVID-19. Thirty-three people were reported dead of COVID-19 in the week ending Sunday, up from 28 deaths reported the week before.
Infections and hospitalizations from the virus rise again as the BA.2 omicron subvariant – which is considered to be even more contagious than its predecessor – becomes the dominant strain.
In Worcester County, 1,280 new cases were reported last week, an increase of 61.6% from the 792 reported the week before. There were four deaths last week compared to none the previous week.
And in Norfolk County, 1,375 new cases were reported last week, an increase of 42.5% from the previous week’s total of 965. Five deaths were reported last week, compared to none the week before.
Massachusetts now ranks third nationally in terms of where coronavirus spreads fastest on a per-person basis, data from Johns Hopkins University shows. At the national level, cases actually fell by 10% last week.
With 2.1% of the country’s population, Massachusetts now has 6.4% of the country’s cases. Across the country, 31 states had more cases last week than they had the week before.
Within Massachusetts, the worst weekly outbreaks were per. person in Hampshire County, with 287 cases per 100,000 pr. week; Suffolk County, with 284; and Middlesex County, with 242. Centers for Disease Control says high levels of community transmission begin at 100 cases per year. 100,000 a week.
The number of weekly cases increased in 12 counties compared to the previous week, with most increases from the previous week’s pace taking place in Middlesex, Suffolk and Worcester counties.
Massachusetts ranks second nationally in its share of people receiving at least one shot, with 97.7% of its residents at least partially vaccinated. The national rate is 77.3%, shows a US TODAY analysis of CDC data. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, which are the most widely used in the United States, require two doses to be administered every few weeks.
A total of 1,724,369 people in Massachusetts have tested positive for coronavirus since the pandemic began, and 20,176 people have died from the disease, data from Johns Hopkins University shows. In the United States, 80,632,301 people tested positive and 988,618 people died.
Massachusetts’ COVID-19 hospital admissions rise
USA TODAY analyzed federal hospital data from Sunday.
Likely COVID-19 patients admitted to the state:
- Last week: 878
- The week before: 806
- Four weeks ago: 751
Likely COVID-19 patients admitted to the country:
- Last week: 38,545
- The week before: 37,371
- Four weeks ago: 41,914
Hospitals in 22 states reported more COVID-19 patients than they did a week earlier, while hospitals in 15 states reported more COVID-19 patients in intensive care units. Hospitals in 32 states admitted more COVID-19 patients last week than a week before, the U.S. TODAY analysis of U.S. Health and Human Services data shows.