“Unvaccinated people accounted for the overwhelming majority of deaths in the United States throughout much of the coronavirus pandemic,” Fenit Nirappil and Dan Keating write over at The Washington Post. “But that has changed in recent months, according to a Washington Post analysis of state and federal data. The pandemic’s toll is no longer falling almost exclusively on those who chose not to get shots, with vaccine protection waning over time and the elderly and immunocompromised —- who are at greatest risk of succumbing to covid-19, even if vaccinated -— having a harder time dodging increasingly contagious strains. The vaccinated made up 42 percent of fatalities in January and February during the highly contagious omicron variant’s surge, compared with 23 percent of the dead in September, the peak of the delta wave, according to nationwide data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention analyzed by The Post. The data is based on the date of infection and limited to a sampling of cases in which vaccination status was known. As a group, the unvaccinated remain far more vulnerable to the worst consequences of infection —- and are far more likely to die —- than people who are vaccinated, and they are especially more at risk than people who have received a booster shot. ‘It’s still absolutely more dangerous to be unvaccinated than vaccinated,’ said Andrew Noymer, a public health professor at the University of California at Irvine who studies covid-19 mortality. ‘A pandemic of -— and by -— the unvaccinated is not correct. People still need to take care in terms of prevention and action if they became symptomatic.’ A key explanation for the rise in deaths among the vaccinated is that covid-19 fatalities are again concentrated among the elderly. Nearly two-thirds of the people who died during the omicron surge were 75 and older, according to a Post analysis, compared with a third during the delta wave. Seniors are overwhelmingly immunized, but vaccines are less effective and their potency wanes over time in older age groups.” Fenit Nirappil and Dan Keating, “Covid deaths no longer overwhelmingly among the unvaccinated,” The Washington Post.
Jeanne Pinder is the founder and CEO of ClearHealthCosts. She worked at The New York Times for almost 25 years as a reporter, editor and human resources executive, then volunteered for a buyout and founded... More by Jeanne Pinder