CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice’s Friday, July 17 COVID-19 briefing came shortly after the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources officially announced the state’s 100th death related to the virus.
“I hate more than you will ever know to look at that number, the number 100,” Justice said. “These people have names, they have families, please keep these people in your thoughts and prayers.”
WOWK 13 News first reported the death, an 84-year-old man from Cabell County Thursday, July 16 after the Cabell-Huntington Health Department announced the county’s first death. The WV DHHR told us this death was not reflected in Thursday’s 5 p.m. update as they said they had not yet received the official paperwork from the county by that time.
In today’s briefing, Justice also addressed comments his office often receives from callers regarding the severity of the virus.
The governor asked West Virginia COVID-19 Czar Dr. Clay Marsh to explain the facts regarding the following comments his office has received:
- Question from Gov. Justice: “99.93% of the people that get this disease don’t die. Is that right or wrong, Dr. Marsh?”
- Dr. Marsh’s response: “We know that the mortality rate across the world with COVID-19 right now is about 4%. That is absolutely untrue and inaccurate.”
- Question from Gov. Justice: “This is just like the flu, and if I get this, I’m not going to have any more danger probably than just like the flu, true or untrue?”
- Dr. Marsh’s response: “That is untrue. The flu has a mortality rate of at the most 0.1% ,and the long-term manifestations we’re seeing even today with brain functions and other problems even in people that can get better from COVID are substantial, much, much worse than the flu.”
“The idea that you’ve got a 99.93% chance of survival if you get this is not true,” Justice said. “The other thing is I think this thing, as far as the death rate, has got in excess 20 times greater than if you had the flu. Absolutely, West Virginia, it is real stuff.”
Justice again encouraged West Virginians to remain cautious and follow the guidelines set in place to prevent further spread of the virus. While Justice says the state’s numbers are better in comparison to many states that have seen a significant uptick such as Florida, South Carolina and now Alabama.
However, because the state has seen increasing numbers in recent weeks, prompting Justice to implement a mandate for wearing masks in buildings, the governor says following the guidelines is important in avoiding a similar uptick in West Virginia.
“We’re seeing increasing numbers of cases, and we’re seeing people who are recovering, but the increase is faster than the recoveries. I want to be cautious and smart in what we do West Virginians,” Justice said.
The graph below shows comparing the numbers reported at 10 a.m. on each of the specified dates shows the growth of COVID-19 cases in West Virginia from one week to the next.