Numbers don’t lie. It’s the unvaccinated that die.
Of the 8,787 people who have died in Texas due to COVID-19 since early February, at least 43 were fully vaccinated, the Texas Department of State Health Services said.
That means 99.5% of people who died due to COVID-19 in Texas from Feb. 8 to July 14 were unvaccinated, while 0.5% were the result of “breakthrough infections,” which DSHS defines as people who contracted the virus two weeks after being fully vaccinated.
The agency said nearly 75% of the 43 vaccinated people who died were fighting a serious underlying condition, such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer or chronic lung disease.
Additionally, it said 95% of the 43 vaccinated people who died were 60 or older, and that a majority of them were white and a majority were men.
DSHS noted that these are preliminary numbers, which could change because each case must be confirmed through public health investigations. Statewide, more than 50,000 people have died of COVID-19 since March 2020, but the rate of deaths has slowed dramatically since vaccines became widely available in April.
Dr. David Lakey, the chief medical officer of the University of Texas System, said people succumbing to the coronavirus despite being vaccinated was “not unexpected.”
“No vaccine is 100%,” said Lakey, who is also a member of the Texas Medical Association’s COVID-19 task force. “And we’ve known for a long while that the vaccines aren’t 100%, but they’re really really good at preventing severe disease and hospitalizations. … There will always be some individuals that will succumb to the illness in the absence of full herd immunity.”
He added that 0.5% is “a very low number of individuals in a state of 30 million. … In the grand perspective of everything, that’s not a large number that would call into question at all the use of this vaccine.”
I should note that some of those 43 vaccinated people who died may have had other comorbidities, we don’t have enough data on that. But still, we’re talking a tiny fraction. One out of two hundred. Which group would you rather be in?
Need more? Go look at these charts from the CDC, one of new COVID cases and one of COVID deaths. The spike in new cases is much higher than the increase in deaths, because vaccinated people who still get COVID get a much milder version of it. They don’t go to hospitals, and they don’t die. If more people were vaccinated, that first chart wouldn’t have that big uptick in it, either.
And one more thing:
Just three states are now driving the pandemic in the United States, as the divide between vaccinated and unvaccinated regions of the country becomes ever more stark, as the more transmissible Delta variant of the coronavirus spreads.
Florida alone accounts for 20 percent of all new cases nationally, Zients pointed out, a trend that has stretched into its second week.
Zients added that “virtually all” hospitalizations and deaths — a full 97 percent — are among unvaccinated people. “The threat is now predominantly only to the unvaccinated,” he said. A few vaccinated people do experience so-called breakthrough infections, but they tend to experience only mild COVID-19 illness, or no illness at all.
Encouragingly, Zients said the five states that have experienced the most significant rise in infections — Arkansas, Louisiana, Florida, Nevada and Missouri — all also saw vaccination rates beat the national average for a second week in a row. But because immunity takes two weeks to develop, and the Delta variant spreads so rapidly, the benefits of the increased uptake of vaccinations may not be evident right away.
Singling out the three states where infections are now spiking could have the effect of putting pressure on elected officials there to do more to encourage vaccinations.
One of those elected officials is Greg Abbott, and we know how much he cares. But maybe some other people are less resistant. The numbers don’t lie.