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Link between cases and deaths greatly weakened in delta surge

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Washington Examiner

The delta variant-driven summer COVID-19 surge in the United States has so far proved much less deadly than previous waves, thanks in large part to vaccinations. The number of cases is approaching the levels seen in previous surges. The seven-day average of daily cases has risen as high as 66,606, close to the peak of 68,622 seen during the summer surge of 2020. Yet hospitalizations have been much lower. Daily hospitalizations so far have hit 31,148 at the highest, far below the 58,488 hospitalizations, for instance, in the spring surge of 2020. Likewise, daily deaths have so far reached a high of 296, only about a tenth of the peak during the winter. “The fact that 57% of the population has gotten at least one dose of the vaccine, that acts as a breaker on a more robust outbreak,” said Dr. Georges Benjamin, the executive director at the American Public Health Association. Those age 65 and older have the highest risk of being hospitalized with severe COVID-19 or dying from the disease. But nearly 80% in that age group have been fully vaccinated. “Most of the people who would have died in previous surges are largely vaccinated now,” said Susan Hassig, an epidemiology professor at the Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. Those contracting COVID-19 tend to be younger. Reports from Florida, one of the epicenters of the current surge, show that the average age of those hospitalized is in the mid-40s. People under age 50 are less likely to be hospitalized or die from COVID-19. They are also less likely to be vaccinated, and the vast majority of those presently hospitalized are unvaccinated.

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