Health and Medicine

The ‘vast majority’ of U.S. COVID-19 deaths are still unvaccinated adults 65 and older

By Peter Weber, The Week

People 65 and older are the most-vaccinated demographic in the U.S., with more than 84 percent fully vaccinated, versus 52 percent of the entire U.S. population. “But national averages mask the high rate of older Americans who remain deeply vulnerable,” The New York Times reports “Older people still account for most COVID-19 deaths, and in many counties, especially in the South and Mountain West, seniors without full vaccination make up more than 10 percent of the total population.”

The highly infectious Delta variant is sending and increasing share of younger unvaccinated adults to the hospital, but “the vast majority of people dying from COVID-19 are people who are older and unvaccinated,” Johns Hopkins infectious disease epidemiologist David Dowdy tells the Times. Claire Hannan, executive director of the Association of Immunization Managers, said the “swaths of populations in counties who are healthy Americans, over 60, who are not vaccinated” are “at extreme risk, and they don’t realized it.”

The U.S. “has a far higher share of seniors without full vaccine protection than many other wealthy countries,” like Canada, Spain, and Britain, the Times reports, and “that discrepancy may help explain why the Delta wave has led to such a higher rate of death in the United States than in Britain,” where the surge in Delta infections did not lead to a big uptick in hospitalizations and deaths. You can read more, with graphs and maps, at The New York Times.


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