Despite widespread vaccine availability, the number of COVID-19 deaths in the United States has surpassed 700,000 people.
The most recent COVID-19 deaths were concentrated in the South and included a younger age group than previously. This August, every age group under 55 experienced the pandemic’s highest death toll.
The vast majority of Americans who died in recent months were unvaccinated when the country provided widespread access to vaccines. The United States has one of the highest current death rates of any country with a plentiful supply of vaccines.
With the new and alarming surge of deaths this summer, the COVID-19 pandemic has become the deadliest in American history, surpassing the toll from the 1918-1919 influenza pandemic, which killed approximately 675,000 people.
A Tragedy in the U.S.
According to The New York Times, the recent virus deaths are distinct from those in previous chapters of the pandemic. People who died in the last three and a half months were concentrated in the South, where vaccination rates have been low; many of the deaths were reported in Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Arkansas. And those who died were younger. In August, every age group under 55 had the pandemic’s highest death toll.
Delta variant slammed into the South, Pacific Northwest, and parts of the Midwest. Since mid-June, nearly 100,000 people in the United States have died due to COVID-19 months after vaccines were made available to American adults.
The US government has not closely monitored the vaccination status of everyone who has been infected with the virus, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has identified 2,900 people who were vaccinated among the 100,000 people who have died from Covid since mid-June.
According to Reuters, the United States continues to lead the world in COVID-19 cases and deaths, accounting for 19% and 14% of all reported infections and deaths, respectively. Globally, the pandemic is expected to kill more than 5 million people.
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Vaccines and Vaccine Booster
Vaccines are highly effective in preventing severe illness and death. In September, a study published by the C.D.C. found that after Delta became the dominant variant, unvaccinated people were more than ten times as likely as vaccinated people to die from the virus. The study, which lasted from April to mid-July, drew on data from ten states and New York City, Los Angeles County, and King County, Washington, which includes Seattle.
According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 56 percent of the U.S. population has been fully vaccinated, with roughly 65 percent receiving at least one dose.
On Monday, US President Joe Biden received a booster shot in the hopes of setting an example for Americans about the importance of getting the extra shot, even as millions go without their first.
While scientists are divided on the need for booster shots because so many people in the United States and other countries remain unvaccinated, Biden announced the initiative in August as part of an effort to strengthen protection against the highly transmissible Delta variant.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, vaccination rates in the Midwest and South lag behind those in the Northeast and parts of the West Coast, indicating a divide between rural and urban areas of the country.
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