COVID cases, hospitalizations and deaths are rising again as the extremely contagious delta variant of the coronavirus takes hold as the dominant strain in the US. In some parts of the country, there are more hospitalizations and cases of COVID than there were last winter, the peak of the pandemic.
The vast majority of people being hospitalized with COVID and dying from the disease haven’t been fully vaccinated, according to public health officials. More than 97% of hospitalizations from COVID right now are of unvaccinated people, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, said Friday, adding: “There is a clear message that is coming through: This is becoming a pandemic of the unvaccinated.” In early July, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the president’s chief medical advisor, told CBS that 99.2% of COVID deaths are now in unvaccinated people.
In Texas, 99.5% of people who died from COVID from February through July 14 weren’t vaccinated, per the Texas Tribune’s reporting on preliminary data from the Texas Department of State Health Services. (Vaccines became available to adults in the state at the end of March. At-risk people were able to get them sooner.) In southern Missouri, an area that leads the nation as a delta variant hot spot, “almost every COVID-19 patient in Springfield’s hospitals is unvaccinated,” the Atlantic reported. The dozen or so that were vaccinated, according to the report, were elderly or immunocompromised — people for whom studies have shown vaccines are likely not as effective.