While top health officials warn that COVID-19 has become an “unvaccinated pandemic,” recent figures from states and cities across the United States show the extent to which the virus is affecting people who have not been fully vaccinated.
A clear example: In June, every person who died of COVID-19 in Maryland was not vaccinated, according to a spokesman for the governor’s office. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 130 people died from COVID-19 in Maryland in June.
New cases of COVID-19 and hospitalizations were also prevalent among unvaccinated people, the state said, at 95% and 93%, respectively.
Other states have reported similar findings, urging people to get vaccinated, as the more transmissible delta variant drives up COVID-19 cases.
In Louisiana, 97% of COVID-19 cases and deaths in the state since February have been in unvaccinated people, Governor John Bel Edwards said Friday. According to the state health department, unvaccinated people in Louisiana were 20 times more likely to be infected with COVID-19 between February and July.
Those numbers were reported when state health officials warned that Louisiana is now in a “fourth wave” of the virus; as of Friday, the average daily number of cases per 100,000 population statewide rose 177% in the past 14 days. The number of hospitalizations with COVID-19 also doubled during that time, health officials said.
With the delta variant now the most dominant strain in Louisiana, about 46% of adults in the state are fully vaccinated, according to the CDC.
“We only have two choices: either we get vaccinated and end the pandemic, or we accept death, a lot of it, this wave and another wave and possibly another variant,” infectious disease specialist Dr. Catherine O’Neal said on Friday at a state press briefing about COVID-19.
In Alabama, more than 96% of COVID-19 deaths since April 1 have been in unvaccinated people, the state health department said on July 13, for 509 deaths out of a total of 529. the adults in the state are fully vaccinated.
In Los Angeles County, nearly all cases of COVID-19, hospitalization and death occur in unvaccinated people, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health reported on July 12. Of the 1,059 new cases reported that day, nearly 87% were in people under the age of 50.
Due to a “rapid rise” in COVID-19 cases in the province, from 210 reported on June 15 to 1,537 two months later – local officials over the weekend reinstated a mandatory indoor mask mandate regardless of vaccination status. More than 60% of the county’s residents aged 16 and over are fully vaccinated.
New York’s health commissioner, Dr. Dave Chokshi, said the vaccines are “amazingly effective”, while sharing that more than 98% of COVID-19 hospitals and deaths in the city between January 1 and June 15 occurred in people who were not fully vaccinated. That included 8,069 deaths in people who were not fully vaccinated. More than 64% of NYC adults are fully vaccinated.
The national picture is unclear, until mid-June, former White House COVID-19 adviser Andy Slavitt said in an interview with The Washington Post that “98.99 percent of people hospitalized and dying from COVID do not are vaccinated.”
As parts of the country with low vaccination coverage are seeing outbreaks of COVID-19, “there is a clear message getting through,” said CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky at a press conference on Friday. “This is going to be a pandemic of unvaccinated people.”
“Communities that are fully vaccinated generally do well,” she added.
According to the CDC, more than 56% of those aged 12 and older in the US have been fully vaccinated.
Clinical trials have shown that the COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective in preventing serious illness and death. Breakthrough cases – when a fully vaccinated person becomes infected with COVID-19 – are rare after full vaccination; a recent CDC report found that they can occur in just 0.01% of all fully vaccinated people.
“The message, loud and clear, that we need to repeat is that these vaccines will last.” [provide] strong protection against SARS-CoV-2, including the delta variant,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, at the White House briefing on Friday, calling the delta variant “formidable” family and your community to get vaccinated.”