COVID-19 cases continue to rise locally and across the nation as Jackson County alone has added almost 200 new cases in the last seven days.

Moving into Halloween, experts say this is a turning point as both flu season and the global pandemic collide with the holiday season.

COVID-189 has already cost the lives of 2,914 Alabamians and 229,000 Americans. With almost 3,000 deaths, more Alabamians have died from COVID-19 than died in New York City during the terrorist attacks of 9/11.

The University of Alabama recently created a mapping system that identifies hot spots within the state and showed multiple hotspots within Jackson County including Scottsboro.

The number of those infected who are under the age of 50 years old has also drastically increased and now make up the majority of cases.

Individuals between 0–24 now make up 24.7% of all infections, nearly a quarter of all new cases, while those when including those 25–50 the number increases to a staggering 62.7% according to the Alabama Department of Public Health, meaning that while younger Alabamians are less likely to die from infection they are increasingly more likely to be infected.

Scientists are also beginning to discover long term effects of infection.

A type of the virus called "long COVID" in some clinical studies has shown to impact a patient's cognitive and breathing abilities for months after infections, and some who were infected with the virus in March have claimed they are still experiencing decreases in energy and mental acuity due to their infection.

This means that will those over the age of 65 still make up the largest number of deaths from the virus that long term impacts are likely to continue for those who recover.

The U.S. added over 85,000 cases on Thursday, making it the highest day on record throughout the entire pandemic as the U.S. case numbers quickly move towards surpassing the total active case highs from January.

The increases in case numbers among younger Alabamians has already had an impact on high school sports, with some schools having to cancel practices to ensure the safety of students.

The county has also drastically increased its test positivity rating over the last 14 days, now at 29.29%. The ideal test positive rate is 5%, anything higher according to the CDC, WHO and Johns Hopkins University indicates that not enough testing is being done to provide an accurate count of cases.

Jackson County is also adding an average of 29 cases per day over the last seven days.

In other areas of the world these drastic rises in cases have already led to further shutdowns.

With a total of more than 9 million total cases and 229,00 deaths, the United States alone counts for more than a fifth of the world’s COVID-19 cases and deaths while only accounting for 4.25% of the total population.

Gov. Kay Ivey's current Safer-at-Home order will expire on Nov. 8.

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