February 1, 2023: COVID Weekly Data Update

South Dakota Death Data

The SD Department of Health updated the provisional mortality data for November 2022 last week.  The number of deaths among South Dakota residents in November 2022 is higher than the number of November deaths between 2010 and 2019 (before COVID): 

Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) and the U.S. Public Health Emergency

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC) as “an extraordinary event which is determined to constitute a public health risk to other States through the international spread of disease and to potentially require a coordinated international response.”  (link)

Since 2007, the declarations have been made by the International Health Regulations (IHR) Emergency Committee, which was formed in 2005 following the 2002-2004 SARS outbreak. (link)

To decide whether a PHEIC exists, any two of the following four questions must be answered ‘yes’:

  • Is the public health impact of the event serious?
  • Is the event unusual or unexpected?
  • Is there a significant risk for international spread?
  • Is there a significant risk for international travel or trade restrictions?

Several diseases are automatically considered as PHEICs and do not require the IHR to declare them as such.  These include SARS, smallpox, wild-type poliomyelitis, and any new subtype of influenza.

Since 2005, there have been seven PHEIC declarations (with dates of declarations):

  • 2009-2010 H1N1 (swine flu) outbreak
  • 2014-2016 Ebola outbreak in Western Africa
  • 2016 Zika virus epidemic
  • 2019-2020 Kivu Ebola epidemic
  • 2020-present COVID-19 pandemic
  • 2022-present mpox (monkeypox) outbreak

The IHR met on January 27,2023, to discuss the COVID-19 PHEIC.  On January 30th, the following recommendations related to the current PHEIC were published and the WHO concluded that COVID-19 continues to be a global health emergency (link):

  • Maintain momentum for COVID-19 vaccination to achieve 100% coverage of high-priority groups guided by the evolving SAGE recommendations on the use of booster doses. States Parties should plan for integration of COVID-19 vaccination into part of life-course immunization programmes.
  • Improve reporting of SARS-CoV-2 surveillance data to WHO. Better data are needed to: detect, assess, and monitor emerging variants; identify significant changes to COVID-19 epidemiology; and understand the burden of COVID-19 in all regions.
  • Increase uptake and ensure long-term availability of medical countermeasures.
  • Maintain strong national response capacity and prepare for future events.
  • Continue working with communities and their leaders to address the infodemic and to effectively implement risk-based public health and social measures (PHSM).
  • Continue to adjust any remaining international travel-related measures.
  • Continue to support research.

U.S. Public Health Emergency:  On January 30th, President Biden told Congress that he will end the COVID-19 national emergency and U.S. public health emergency declarations that have been in force since March 13, 2020, and that the government’s response will be managed through the normal authorities (e.g., the Center for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC]).  The declarations will end on May 11th.  The public health emergency has allowed the government to provide COVID-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines at no charge, and to offer enhanced social safety net benefits.

So, what does ending the public health emergency mean?  (link)

  • The cost of testing will no longer be covered by the federal government.
  • The cost of vaccines will no longer be covered by the federal government (the estimated charge is $82 to $130/dose, but insurance should cover the cost). 
  • Free treatments (e.g., monoclonal antibodies) will be available until the federal supply is exhausted.
  • The development of vaccines and treatments will no longer be directly managed by the federal government and will transition to the private market. 
  • Hospitals will lose additional Medicare funds for treating COVID-19 patients.
  • States can start withdrawing people from Medicaid.  As part of the original relief package, states were barred from kicking people off Medicaid during a public health emergency.  States are now able to disenroll residents who no longer qualify (this will happen anyway since Congress changed this in the 2023 government funding package).
  • The existing emergency use authorizations for COVID-19 vaccines, tests, or treatments will not be affected, and the FDA can continue to issue emergency use authorizations after the public health emergency ends.

Reminder:  As of January 25, 2023, there was an average of 537 deaths in the U.S. per day (per CDC COVID Data Tracker Weekly Review dated January 27, 2023).  To put that in perspective, that’s more people than one Boeing 747 crashing every day. 

World Data

The number of cases and deaths throughout the world is underreported.  For example, the last data from China were obtained on January 9th.  At that time, a total of 22 deaths had been reported during the month of January (link).  Below is the total number of COVID deaths reported to date by China.


Brookings County (low community level; high community transmission [% test positivity = 33% vs. 37% last week])

  • Only 17% of people 18 years of age and older in Brookings County have received the updated bivalent booster (link to data here). 
  • 9,329 total cases:  35 new cases this week vs. 30 in the previous week.  Of the new cases this past week:
    • 29% were under 20 years of age (vs. 17% in previous week)
    • 23% were 20-39 years (vs. 46% in previous week)
    • 14% were 40-59 years (vs. 10% in previous week)
    • 34% were 60 years or older (vs. 27% in previous week)
  • 250 Brookings County residents have been hospitalized with COVID: 3 hospitalizations posted this past week compared to 0 in the previous week. 
  • Currently, the percentage of staffed beds that are COVID-occupied in the Sioux Empire region is 3.3% (compared to 2.4% last week), and 22.3% of the total hospital beds are available (compared to 20.7% last week).
  • 64 Brookings County residents have died of COVID:  no new deaths were reported this past week compared to no deaths in the previous week.

South Dakota (low community level; high community transmission [% test positivity = 25%+ vs. 20-24% last week])

  • Only 20% of people 18 years of age and older in South Dakota have received the updated bivalent booster (link to data here). 
  • 274,676 cases: 747 new cases this week vs. 575 in the previous week. Of the new cases this past week:
    • 22% were under 20 years of age (vs. 17% in previous week)
    • 25% were 20-39 years (vs. 27% in previous week)
    • 23% were 40-59 years (vs. 21% in previous week)
    • 30% were 60 years or older (vs. 35% in previous week)
  • 12,376 South Dakota residents have been admitted to in-state hospitals with COVID: 38 were admitted this week vs. 39 last week. Of the new hospital admissions this past week:
    • 3% were under 20 years of age (vs. 5% in previous week)
    • 0% were 20-39 years (vs. 3% in previous week)
    • 8% were 40-59 years (vs. 23% in previous week)
    • 89% were 60 years or older (vs. 69% in previous week)
  • 54 people are currently hospitalized vs. 49 last Wednesday (10 currently in the ICU vs. 8 last week).
  • Currently, the percentage of staffed beds statewide that are COVID-occupied is 2.5% (compared to 2.3% last week), and 34.7% of the total hospital beds are available (compared to 34.6% last week).
  • 3,152 South Dakotans have died from COVID:  3 new deaths reported this week vs. 4 in the previous week.  Of the new deaths reported this past week:
    • 1 was 40-59 years of age
    • 2 were 60 years or older


  • 104.1 million cases:  289,428 new cases this week vs. 293,022 in the previous week
  • 1.13 million total deaths:  3,317 deaths this week vs. 3,723 in the previous week


  • 675.2 million cases: 1.48 million cases this week vs. 1.85 million in the previous week
  • 6.76 million deaths: 12,777 deaths this week vs. 16,065 in the previous week 

Take care of yourself and each other.


Published by Bonnysblog78398238

I'm interested in numbers.

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