We’re running a grim national experiment right now, in regard to the effects of the COVID vaccines on mortality rates. A convenient statistical fact is that in the USA vaccines began to be introduced in late December of last year, so the difference between 2020 and 2021 COVID mortality statistics can be treated as the difference between a completely unvaccinated and a gradually vaccinated population, with of course fully a quarter of the adult population still unvaccinated nearly three quarters of the way through the latter year.
In this post I’ll compare COVID mortality by age in 2020 to the same statistic for August of 2021. (Stats are here).
The first thing to note is that, amazingly enough, COVID deaths INCREASED by 30.2% in August of 2021 compared to August of 2020, rising from 29,881 to 38,902. As I noted yesterday, it’s practically certain now that excess deaths in the US population are going to be higher this year than they were in 2020, despite the introduction and massive uptake of a completely safe and almost completely effective series of vaccines for the virus that’s causing the pandemic.
The second thing worth noting is that the death toll from the Delta variant would be truly astronomical without the vaccines, given the numbers below.
Vaccines are obviously having a very strong effect on exactly who is dying from COVID. Here’s who died in 2020, and then in August of 2021, stratified by age, and as a percentage of the total deaths from COVID. (I’ve omitted the handful of deaths among children and adolescents, in order to focus on the largely vaccinated population):
18-29 1481 .38%
30-39 4287 1.1%
40-49 11,318 2.9%
50-64 56,739 14.7%
65-74 82,249 21.4%
75-84 106,201 27.6%
85+ 122,775 31.9%
19.1% of COVID deaths in the USA in 2020 occurred among people under 65.
18-29 521 1.3%
30-39 1528 3.9%
40-49 3300 8.5%
50-64 10,334 26.6%
65-74 9,120 23.4%
75-84 8,135 20.9%
85+ 5,964 15.3%
40.3% of deaths of COVID deaths in the USA in August of 2021 occurred among people under 65.
This pattern is going to get even more pronounced as vaccination rates creep upward.
Ultimately, these numbers highlight both how in this country the COVID vaccines represent a fantastic success of science, and an equally fantastic failure of politics and culture.