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Martinsville-region COVID-19/coronavirus daily update from state, nation and world: Feb. 23
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Martinsville-region COVID-19/coronavirus daily update from state, nation and world: Feb. 23

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February is now the deadliest month from COVID-19 in the West Piedmont Health District. Eight more residents of Henry County and Martinsville -- 4 in each locality -- are reported dead today, making 45 in the district who have died this month, 3 more than the record set in January. The Virginia Department of Health reported the deaths -- now 142 combined in the city and county -- in its report this morning. The deaths could've occurred any time. VDH clears cause through death certificates, and backlogs could take weeks to catch up. In fact, officials say continued search of vital records has linked more deaths to the virus. We only know for sure that VDH tracks all data by a person's place of residence. That's 92 deaths in Henry County, 50 in Martinsville and 220 in the health district since the pandemic began. The 7-day average for deaths is up to 3, second only to the record 3.7 set on Sept. 20. The overall data report by VDH was a particularly bad one for Henry County. In addition to 4 deaths, the county had 22 new cases and 3 more hospitalizations. That was the majority of 30 new cases in the district, where the rolling 7-day average is down to 22 and 16 per 100,000 population (dramatic decreases). Martinsville had 5 new cases, and Franklin County had 4. Patrick County's total actually decreased by 1, which sometimes happens in statistical review. Since the first case on March 20, the district has had 10,461 cases, with 616 hospitalizations and the 220 deaths....To understand the impact of a half-million deaths of Americans because of COVID-19, here’s a basic perspective: 500,000 is equal roughly to 10 deaths for every resident of Henry County. Virginia will have contributed about 7,500 of those deaths, and the West Piedmont Health District has added 212 of those...The 500,000 all but matches the number of Americans killed in World War II, Korea and Vietnam combined. The U.S. recorded an estimated 405,000 deaths in World War II, 58,000 in the Vietnam War and 36,000 in the Korean War....Flags around the U.S. are flying at half-staff.  Dr. Anthony Fauci addressed the travesty plainly, saying, "We've done worse than most any other country." Meanwhile, as England prepares to reopen, its chief medical officer said COVID-19 will likely be a problem "for the next few winters." It's a reminder that, like the flu, COVID-19 will still threaten even with widespread vaccinations. There are other health risks to consider as well: Japan has appointed a minister for loneliness to combat a rising suicide rate amid the pandemic. And in the US., clinics are springing up to treat sufferers of "long COVID," whose symptoms linger long after the infection has cleared....Virginia lawmakers advanced a new version of bipartisan school-reopening legislation Monday, moving to tighten the requirements for in-person instruction that districts must offer in the next school year. The latest version aims to require school districts to offer a full-time, in-person option for students, with limited exceptions....The Education Department said Monday that it will not allow states to forgo federally required standardized testing in schools this year but will give them flexibility to delay testing or hold it online during the pandemic....The Virginia Department of Health reports this morning there have been 567,039 cases and 7,658 deaths statewide -- up by 172 since Monday. Some 23,698 people have been hospitalized. Henry County has had 4,140 cases, with 277 hospitalizations and 92 deaths. Martinsville has had 1,490 cases, with 125 hospitalizations and 50 deaths. Patrick County has had 1,171 cases including 89 hospitalizations and 34 deaths. Franklin County has had 3,660 cases, 125 hospitalizations and 44 deaths. Danville has reported 4,240 cases (99 deaths), and Pittsylvania County has had 4,684 (58 deaths). Johns Hopkins University's real-time map showed 111,806,530 cases worldwide and 2,476,526 deaths. In the U.S. there have been 28,191,010 cases and 500,441 deaths because of COVID-19.

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