The worst wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in Las Vegas: Remembering Christmas 2020

Coronavirus

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A look back at last Christmas provides some perspective on the COVID-19 pandemic. We’ve come a long way, and Las Vegas has it pretty good compared to the depths of December 2020.

“Although the Southern Nevada Health District (SNHD) is seeing an increase in cases currently, the data and trends are lower than last year at this time,” said Stephanie Bethel of the Office of Communications at the Southern Nevada Health District.

But no one is saying the pandemic is over. Especially with the omicron variant on the scene.

Monday-Friday of Christmas week in 2020, Clark County averaged nearly 1,600 cases reported each day. Hospitalizations that week averaged 1,450 in Clark County.

Dec. 22, 2020, was one of the three deadliest days of the pandemic in Nevada.

Daily statistics often distort the numbers on deaths, because deaths are counted days — and sometimes even weeks or months — after they actually occurred.

But statistics now show that three days — Dec. 18, 2020, Dec. 22, 2020, and Jan. 11, 2021 — each saw 48 people die of COVID-19 in Nevada. At the time, cases, hospitalizations and deaths were primarily in Clark County.

(Nevada Department of Health and Human Services)

By comparison, the numbers are much lower now. Daily cases in Clark County average just under 400. Hospitalizations have dropped to less than half of last December’s levels.

“The difference is that in 2021, we have vaccines and more treatment options to help,” Bethel said. “In Clark County, more than 3 million vaccine doses have been administered since the vaccine was available in December 2020. More than 80 percent of adults in Clark County have started their vaccination series.”

In 2020, people were dying at a rate of about 26 every day statewide, and around 20 every day in Clark County.

The current average of deaths each day is down around five in Clark County.

SNHD emphasizes that people who are unvaccinated should find a vaccine clinic that’s convenient. It’s important to follow up with the second dose if you get the Pfizer or Moderna shots.

And people should get a booster shot when they are eligible.

Getting vaccinated will provide you with protection against the virus.

Stephanie Bethel, Southern Nevada Health District

While the delta variant is still wreaking havoc in Clark County, omicron appears to produce milder sicknesses.

Federal health officials emphasize that unvaccinated people are still at the highest risk for severe illnesses.

“We are continuing to learn more about COVID-19 as we move through the pandemic and our response has been a community effort,” Bethel said.

“Our health care community and our other partners have responded by ramping up testing and vaccine efforts, providing hospital care and treatment options and remained flexible as our community responded to surges since 2020,” she said.

Copyright 2022 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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