Covid-19 milestones come and go, but there is a convergence of three in the United States that is worth mentioning.
- One year of vaccinations and 60% of all Americans vaccinated
- 800,000 deaths from covid-19
- More than 50 million infections
Tuesday marks precisely one year since the first vaccines against the coronavirus were launched in the United States.
In the course of that year, 202 million people and counting – more than 60% of the total population of the United States – have been fully vaccinated; about 484 million doses of vaccines have been administered; And now the government is encouraging everyone over 16 to get a booster dose.
The number of fully vaccinated people is incredible and at the same time insufficient. The fights over how to get the rest of the country to get the vaccines that await them have turned into a huge political and legal showdown.
Deaths due to covid-19
While it is appropriate to acknowledge the achievements of vaccination, it is also impossible to understand the fact that the US will hit 800,000 recorded deaths from COVID-19 in the next few days.
When the first vaccines were given a year ago, around 300,000 Americans had died, meaning there have been half a million additional deaths from Covid-19. A large portion of them occurred after the vaccines were available, meaning they were completely preventable. The vast majority of COVID-19 deaths occur among the unvaccinated.
The true number of victims is much higher
The official death toll is almost certainly less than the true number of COVID-19 victims. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released data in September suggesting that the actual number of deaths is about 32% higher than what was officially reported. That could mean that more than 1 million Americans have likely died from COVID-19.
That also means that around half a million deaths from Covid-19 have been recorded since the vaccines were first licensed for emergency use. More than 1,000 Americans continue to die every day, on average, according to the CDC.
One percent of older people in the US
Citizen Free Press’s Deidre McPhillips pointed to a staggering figure Monday: “One in 100 older adults in the United States has died of COVID-19, according to federal data.”
The vast majority of reported COVID-19 deaths – more than three-quarters or at least 514,000 – occurred among people 65 and older. He added that the United States Census Bureau estimates that there are 50.4 million people in this age group in the country.
This proportion is even worse when reduced to older populations, with 1 in 60 people aged 75 and over who have died from Covid-19.
Twice more likely to die
McPhillips pointed out other data points to me: The racial disparity in the number of COVID-19 victims has improved, but Black, Hispanic and Native American people are still roughly twice as likely to die from COVID-19 than white people, he said, citing data from the CDC. Racial disparities in vaccination status have also narrowed.
Young adults and infections
Another graph from the CDC report based on data through September caught my eye. Shows the inverse ratio of deaths to infections by age. Half of the infections through September were among people ages 18 to 49 and another 22% were among people 17 and younger.
These two groups, which can be argued that spread the disease as they accounted for 72% of infections, combined represent less than 10% of total deaths during that time. That’s still a lot of people, and every death is a tragedy. As of December 8, according to the CDC, the US recorded:
- 644 deaths of people under 18 years of age
- 4,700 deaths of 18 to 29 year olds
- 13,882 deaths of people aged 30 to 39
- 33,706 deaths of people aged 40 to 49 years
Each age group over 49 years recorded more than 100,000 deaths.
Deaths concentrated in certain states
When the first vaccines were administered, the virus had hit the Northeast more strongly than the rest of the country. Since then, as Citizen Free Press noted last week, the burden has shifted to states with the least vaccination.
The state with the most deaths per 100,000 residents is Mississippi, with 347. Alabama, New Jersey, Louisiana, Arizona and Oklahoma have also seen more than 300 deaths per 100,000 residents.
Vermont and Hawaii have had the fewest deaths per 100,000 people.
As the US is heading toward 800,000 COVID-19 deaths and trying to improve its vaccination rate by 60%, it must try to deal with its 50 millionth infection.
Cases are increasing, particularly in the Northeast, as the cold weather wears on and families gather for the holidays. As we enter the third year of covid-19, it is clear that vaccines and booster doses will not eliminate the disease. Hopefully, they’ll stop an unnecessary spike in deaths.
News that matters for Citizens.