We are fast approaching the fourth anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic, and I get the feeling that few people are concerned about hospitalizations and deaths from the disease. Unfortunately, COVID-19 is still a dangerous disease, causing nearly 1000 deaths a week in the USA alone according to the CDC. I bet many of you are surprised by the size of that number — I follow COVID-19 very carefully and even I was surprised.
This article will review why COVID-19 deaths are still high and remind you, once again, to get the vaccine.
Why are COVID-19 deaths still high?
There are several reasons why COVID-19 deaths in the USA remain high:
- If more people get sick, even if in lesser numbers than in previous waves, it will naturally lead to more people becoming hospitalized and, in turn, dying. In other words, COVID-19 has not gone away, so people are going to hospital and potentially dying.
- According to CDC data, as of 5 January 2024, just 19.4% of adults aged 18 and older and 8% of children have received the updated COVID-19 vaccine. These low numbers are appalling.
- The COVID-19 vaccine effectively prevents serious cases of the disease and reduces the risk of hospitalization. According to a study by the CDC, unvaccinated people are about 29 times more likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19 than those who are fully vaccinated. Thus, the high level of unvaccinated individuals in the USA has led to more hospitalizations and deaths.
- According to the CDC, the new JN.1 COVID-19 variant appears to be more transmissible and better able to evade the immune system. This is leading to more hospitalizations and deaths. Once again, the current COVID-19 vaccines can prevent JN.1 and can reduce the risk of hospitalization and death from the variant.
- Americans are not accessing the recommended treatments for COVID-19, such as Paxlovid. Initial clinical trial data showed that Paxlovid reduced the risk of hospitalization and death for unvaccinated patients at risk of severe illness who began treatment within three days of symptoms by nearly 90%. More recent studies including omicron strains of the virus and vaccinated patients have upheld similar results showing the treatment cut the risk of hospitalization and death in half.
The numbers still show that COVID-19 is still affecting a lot of people across the world, and those people who do get the disease are getting hospitalized or dying at a higher rate, especially if they are not vaccinated.
COVID-19 is not going away any time soon, and just because some of you (or probably a majority of you) are just tired of reading about the disease does not mean that the virus is going to suddenly disappear. It is still hitting a lot of people and it continues to mutate into different forms, some of which could eventually be very dangerous.
The best way to prevent being hospitalized or dying from this disease is to get the vaccine. The vaccine is safe and effective, period.
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