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COVID 19 deaths are skyrocketing among unvaccinated, seemingly healthy middle-aged Americans, data show

COVID 19 deaths are skyrocketing among unvaccinated, seemingly healthy middle-aged Americans, data show


When a recent COVID-19 wave, fueled by a variant of Omicron, struck the United States, no one expected it to lead to deaths.

As of Wednesday, the country has reported an average of 2,200 new COVID daily deaths across the country. This is lower than the 3,400 peak seen last winter, but still three times the average number of deaths recorded two months ago.

In addition, last winter, the vaccine was just beginning to go on sale, the children were still unqualified, and the conversation over boosters was far away.

Questions arise because about 60% of Americans have been completely vaccinated during the recent wave and the daily deaths from Omicron are still relatively high.

According to infectious disease doctors, it is still predominantly unvaccinated, most of them in their 30s and 40s, with no underlying health problems and dying.

“The majority of patients over 75% are predominantly unvaccinated individuals, infected with COVID, hospitalized for serious illness, and now dead,” said assistant professor Dr. Mahdee Sobhanie.Physician of Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases at Ohio State University I told ABC News.

A small proportion of deaths are fully vaccinated (and boost-immunized) people who are old or in an existing condition that increases their risk of death.

Unvaccinated remains the majority of deaths

Nearly two years after the pandemic, unvaccinated Americans still account for the majority of COVID deaths.

In the first week of December (when the Omicron subspecies began to settle), unvaccinated people died at a rate of 9 per 100,000, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

By comparison, an analysis by ABC News shows that fully vaccinated people die at a rate of 0.4 per 100,000, meaning that unvaccinated people are 20 times more likely to die of the virus. To do. State-level data from California to Mississippi show similar results.

“We started with the most vulnerable dead of the elderly (in 2020),” Dr. David Zonys, Deputy Chief Medical Officer of the Emergency Services at Oregon Health & Science University, told ABC News. .. “As we moved to different varieties, the age group changed. Now very young people are dying. It’s about 30 and 40 years old.”

One of them was Christian Cabrera, two fathers of a 40-year-old comedian from Los Angeles with no underlying conditions.

“He has always brought joy and laughter to everyone,” his brother, Gino Cabrera Khanwas, told ABC News. “He will be the type of person who jumps out into a song in a quiet elevator.”

But he was not vaccinated. Christians were afraid of potential side effects, and he didn’t think he needed a vaccine because he doesn’t get sick often, his brother said.

But shortly after the Christmas holidays, he began to develop symptoms. After trying to treat himself at his home, his oxygen levels began to be dangerously low.

Christians were taken to Sherman Oaks Hospital, where they were admitted to the ICU and stayed there until their death on January 21st.

Gino, who founded GoFundMe for Christian’s three-year-old son Noel, said he received a text message two days before his brother’s death saying he regrets not being vaccinated by Christians in a hospital bed. ..

“He sent me the text,” I can’t breathe. I wish I had been vaccinated. I really regret it. If I can start over, I’d like to do it with a heartbeat to save my life. ” Gino said. “I think it was also his message to everyone. If you are on the fence, get all the protection you can, get your vaccine, get your booster. . “

Dr. Taison Bell, a life-saving emergency and infectious disease doctor at the University of Virginia, told ABC News that many unvaccinated patients had similar feelings and regret their decision.

When asked why they weren’t vaccinated, most of the time they said, “I didn’t think I needed to be vaccinated.”

“And there’s a sigh of regret in the way they say it,” Bell said. “These are now generally preventable deaths. People in the ICU would have been able to avoid the hospital altogether if they had been vaccinated.”

People who are completely vaccinated in their existing state are also dying

Most US COVID deaths are made up of unvaccinated people, but only a few fully vaccinated Americans die of breakthrough infections.

According to doctors, the overwhelming majority of these cases are among people with underlying illness, many of whom are taking immunosuppressive drugs.

“Also, patients with other medical conditions: obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, HIV,” Sohbanie said. “Therefore, if there are other medical conditions that may be at increased risk, they are (fully vaccinated) patients and may eventually be hospitalized and die of COVID.”

Jeff Sales, a 47-year-old Army veteran and nurse from Sarasota, Florida, was one of those patients.

According to his son Braden Sales, he joined the Army at the age of 18 with the goal of becoming a doctor and took two tours in South Korea.

On one of those tours, Jeff was hit by rheumatic fever. Rheumatic fever was not treated for several weeks. This pierced his heart, and at the age of 22, he installed a metal heart valve.

After being discharged from the Army, he earned a nursing degree and was a nurse for over 15 years, primarily in Utah, before his family moved to Florida in August 2020.

“All of his life was to help people, make special connections, and do everything that everyone can do for everyone,” Braden told ABC News.

Jeff worked as an orthopedic nurse, but his unit was converted to a COVID unit to deal with the influx of patients. He always wore a mask and took some precautions, including being fully vaccinated and boosted.

But on the night of January 20, another nurse told him that he was pale. After that, he developed chills. He was admitted to the ER and his COVID test returned positive at 6 am the next day.

Braden said a few hours later his father had difficulty breathing and his condition deteriorated rapidly.

People with heart valves have a higher risk of blood clotting than the general population, and one of the side effects of COVID is an even higher risk of clotting. “When his blood thickened, the heart valves failed, and when the heart valves failed, he suffered complete organ failure,” Braden said. “Without his heart valve, it wouldn’t have hit him so hard, and he’s probably still here.”

Jeff died on January 21, just 12 hours after a positive test.

Dr. Scott Curry, an assistant professor of infectious diseases at South Carolina Medical College, called the deaths of fully vaccinated people “the most tragic” to him.

In Charleston, as of February 10, COVID-19 deaths consisted of approximately 50% of all ages with severe immunosuppression, vaccinated patients, and 50% unvaccinated patients. He said it has been.

“When you were a healthy adult who chose not to get vaccinated, you rolled the dice and seized the opportunity,” Curry told ABC News. “But if you have weakened immunity and live with or are exposed to someone who is not vaccinated, you will die from being infected with COVID. They are at greatest risk. . “

Braden said he hopes that his father’s death will allow others to do what they can to limit the effects of COVID.

“He was always advocating doing something to prevent the spread,” Braden said. “He would be happy if he could make one person think about what they were doing and change something so that the virus wouldn’t spread that much.”

Mark Nichols of ABC News contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2022 ABCNews Internet Ventures.




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