Omicron caused spike in deaths among vaccinated people, analysis finds, though unvaccinated remain most at risk

The omicron variant of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 that has swept across the United States since late last year has had a grimmer toll than previous variants, including in people who have been vaccinated and even received booster shots.

It depends a Washington Post analysis of data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which found that 42% of COVID deaths in January and February were among vaccinated people, compared to 23% of deaths in September, when the delta variant was still dominant.

The data is based on the date of infection and limited to a sample of cases in which vaccination status was known, the newspaper reported. The deaths were mainly among the elderly and people with weakened immune systems. Nearly two-thirds of those who died during omicron were aged 75 or older.

Omicron, and its growing number of subvariants, has proven to be much more contagious than earlier strains. The rise in deaths is thought to be linked to the decline in vaccine protection over time, making it harder for patients most at risk to avoid contracting the disease.

The data also shows that unvaccinated people remain at much higher risk than vaccinated people and are much more likely to die if they get sick, and they are at higher risk than people who have had their boosters.

“It’s always absolutely more dangerous to be unvaccinated than vaccinated,” Andrew Noymer, a professor of public health at the University of California, Irvine who studies COVID-19-related mortality, told the newspaper.

“A pandemic of – and by – the unvaccinated is not correct. People still need to be careful in terms of prevention and action if they become symptomatic.

COVID cases continue to rise in the United States after their sharp decline at the start of the year. The United States averages 60,953 cases per day, according to a New York Times tracker, up 55% from two weeks ago. The country is recording an average of 17,220 hospitalizations per day, up 16% from two weeks ago, but still close to the lowest level since the first weeks of the pandemic. The average daily death toll fell below 400 to 331.

In a sign of the changing trend, New York City raised its COVID risk level from low to medium on Monday. The city is seeing an average of 2,654 cases a day, down from around 600 a day in early March. The number may be even higher as many people are now testing from home and not all data is being collected.

See now: South Africa hit by new omicron subvariants that have been detected in the United States in small numbers

Vice President Kamala Harris will return to work in person on Tuesday after testing negative for COVID-19, her press secretary said in a statement.

“Today, the Vice President tested negative for COVID-19 on a rapid antigen test,” press secretary Kirsten Allen said in a statement. “As per CDC guidelines, she will wear a properly fitting mask while around other people during the ten-day period.”

Harris tested positive for COVID on April 26, and Allen said at the time that the vice president would return to work at the White House once she tested negative for the virus.

Coronavirus update: MarketWatch’s Daily Roundup organizes and reports all the latest developments each day of the week since the start of the coronavirus pandemic

Other COVID-19 news you should know:

• Beijing is preparing new hospital facilities to deal with a spike in COVID-19 cases, although the number of new cases remains low, the Associated Press reported. State media reported on Tuesday that a 1,000-bed hospital in Xiaotangshan in the northeastern suburbs, built for the 2003 SARS outbreak, had been renovated when needed. Unofficial reports online say thousands of beds have been prepared at a centralized quarantine facility near the airport, but state media has not confirmed those preparations in what may be an attempt to avoid to stir up public fears.

Beijing is rushing to test more than 20 million people as residents scramble for food supplies. The WSJ’s Jonathan Cheng shows what life is like in the capital and unpacks the likely ripple effects if officials cannot control the fast-spreading virus. Photo: Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

• Shanghai is easing some of its COVID restrictions as cases fall and the city eases a draconian lockdown that is now in its second month, Reported by Barron. Nearly 2,000 companies in China’s financial capital have been given the green light to resume work – albeit under restrictive conditions, such as requiring workers to live in factories and undergo weekly nucleic acid tests , even daily.

• Pfizer

post stronger than expected earnings for the first quarter on Tuesday, boosted by sales of its COVID vaccine and antiviral. Revenue from the COVID vaccine rose from $3.2 billion to $13.2 billion, while sales of its antiviral Paxlovid hit $1.5 billion. The company said it expects COVID vaccine sales of about $32 billion in 2022 and antiviral sales of about $22 billion.

• Wedbush analyst Dan Ives downgraded his rating on DocuSign e-signature stock

underperform relative to neutral, citing a tougher landscape for a company that was a big winner early in the pandemic. “[W]We believe the company is experiencing a much tougher sales environment as the company expands into a broader CLM [contract-lifecycle-management] deals with the electronic signature going through a major growth transition in the field,” Ives wrote. The stock was last down 2.8%.

Here’s what the numbers say

The global tally of confirmed COVID-19 cases topped 514.3 million on Friday, while the death toll topped 6.23 million, according to data aggregated by Johns Hopkins University.

The United States leads the world with 81.4 million cases and 994,013 deaths.

the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Tracker shows that 219.8 million people living in the United States are fully immunized, or 66.2% of the total population. But only 100.7 million are boosted, or 45.8% of the vaccinated population.

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