Sept. 20, 2021 -- For the first time in Alabama’s known history, the state’s deaths have outpaced its births -- a bleak consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Our state literally shrunk in 2020,” Scott Harris, MD, Alabama’s state health officer, said at a news conference. “It hasn’t happened before, nor has it even been close before.”
He said that according to available data, which dates back to the early 1900s, this phenomenon was not even seen during the flu pandemic of 1918, or Word War I or World War II.
Harris reported that the number of deaths was 64,714 compared with 57.641 births.
Only 40% of Alabama residents are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
Harris pointed to the troubling statistic that 1 of 500 people in the U.S. have died of COVID-19 -- which he called a “staggering number” -- and noted that although the U.S. has less than 5% of the world’s population, it accounts for more than 15% of deaths.
“We’re continuing to have double-digit numbers of deaths reported on most days,” he said.
Hospitalizations for COVID-19, as well as deaths from the disease, continue to increase. According to federal data, the U.S. saw more than 10,000 COVID-related deaths in 1 week. The highest death rates were recorded in Texas, Georgia and North Carolina.
The average U.S. COVID-19 daily death toll surpassed 2,000 this past weekend for the first time since March 1, according to a New York Times database.
Florida and Texas together account for over 30% of the deaths.