CDC: Unvaccinated nearly 11 times more likely to die from COVID-19

As coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and deaths continue to surge in the United States, a new study shows unvaccinated people are nearly 11 times more likely to die from COVID-19, and about as likely to be hospitalized with the coronavirus, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

The study, released by the CDC, looked at more than 600,000 COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths in 13 states between April and July. 

During the studied time period, a total of 92% of COVID-19 cases, 92% of hospitalizations and 91% of COVID-19–associated deaths were reported among persons not fully vaccinated. Meanwhile, 8% of cases, 8% of hospitalizations and 9% of deaths were reported among fully vaccinated persons in the 13 jurisdictions. 

"Getting vaccinated protects against severe illness from COVID-19, including the Delta variant. Monitoring COVID-19 incidence by vaccination status might provide early signals of potential changes in vaccine effectiveness that can be confirmed through robust controlled studies," the study authors wrote.

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CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said in a briefing Friday that researchers "found further evidence of the power of vaccination."

"Looking at cases over the past two months when the delta variant was the predominant variant circulating in this country, those who were under-vaccinated were about four-and-a-half times more likely to get COVID-19, over 10 times more likely to be hospitalized and 11 times more likely to die from the disease," Walensky said.

This study was released on the heels of President Joe Biden’s speech Thursday in which the president announced sweeping new federal vaccine requirements affecting as many as 100 million Americans in an all-out effort to increase COVID-19 vaccinations and curb the surging delta variant.

Speaking at the White House, Biden sharply criticized the roughly 80 million Americans who are not yet vaccinated, despite months of availability and incentives. Biden once again called it "the pandemic of the unvaccinated."

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"We’ve been patient. But our patience is wearing thin, and your refusal has cost all of us," he continued.

Walensky said the CDC would continue to strive for increased vaccination rates across the country by "working with local communities and trusted messengers and providing vaccine confidence to make sure that people have the information they need to make an informed decision about vaccination." 

"The bottom line is this: We have designed the tools we need to turn the corner on this pandemic. Vaccination works and will protect us from the severe complications of COVID-19. It will protect our children and allow them to stay in school for safe in-person learning," Walensky said.

This study was reported from Los Angeles.