In recent weeks, a data has attracted a lot of attention: 99.5% of people died COVID-19 from the United States Not vaccinated.

We are two researchers Public health and Research Immunity, Viruses and other microorganisms. Since the beginning of the pandemic, public health experts have been worried about what would happen if most of the American population were not vaccinated for any reason. In the past few weeks, The answer to this question is beginning to surface.

“Two Americas” for Vaccination

As of mid-July, the United States has been fully vaccinated Over 160 million people – Less than 50% of the population – fight COVID-19.Despite a Excess vaccines available, Vaccination rate in recent weeks Drastically slowed down. In early April, health workers received approximately 4 million new vaccines every day. Today, this number is approximately 450,000 doses per day.

In the past few months, as people seek vaccines, the United States has split into what Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said “Two Americas“- One of the vaccinated people and one of the unvaccinated people. These two Americas are separate Geographically, in most cases along political lines.

The vaccination rate will be Continue to rise, albeit slowlyWith better access to vaccines and information in rural areas, some people who are hesitant about vaccines have been persuaded to get vaccinated.However, according to survey data at the end of June and early July, more than 10% of adults aged 18 and over said they May not or definitely won’t get the coronavirus vaccine, And another 5% said they are not sure. It seems that there may be a large number of unvaccinated people.

Which America is safer?

The vaccine itself is in their Effectiveness In the prevention of COVID-19.

In contrast, people who have not been vaccinated are highly susceptible to coronavirus, especially the Delta variant. The death and hospitalization data clearly show this difference.

On July 16, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, Director, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Revealed that 99.5% of recent deaths in the United States People from COVID-19 are people who have not been vaccinated. “These deaths can be prevented by simple and safe shooting,” she said. In early July, Fauci said 99.2% of those who died recently were not vaccinated. In Maryland, Every patient who died of COVID-19 in June was not vaccinated.

Valensky also stated in a statement on July 16 that 97% of COVID-19 hospitalized patients are currently unvaccinated. An earlier analysis by the Associated Press found that 98.9% of all hospitalized COVID-19 patients May not be vaccinatedThe director of the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services recently stated that All newly hospitalized COVID-19 patients in Los Angeles have not been vaccinated.

The story of two countries

Compared with vaccinated individuals, it is difficult to find overall case data for unvaccinated individuals.This is partly due to the CDC transition in May Focus on the hospitalization of COVID-19 vaccinators, not the cases. But one way to obtain this data is to compare two states with very different vaccination rates. As the Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2 proliferates in the United States, people can observe the consequences of this split into a vaccinated and unvaccinated United States in real time.

In Missouri, only 40% of people are vaccinated. In some counties in Missouri, Only 14.7% of residents were vaccinated. Not surprisingly, by mid-July, there was a surge in COVID-19 cases in the state. 2,000 to 3,000 new cases per day. transmission speed Also increasing. Some hospitals are already in operation No ventilator and intensive care bed.

In contrast, 63% of people in Massachusetts have been vaccinated. Although cases in the state are also increasing, the total number of new infections per day is only around 200 to 300.Number of hospitalized patients COVID-19 in Massachusetts has also fallen by 95% Since January.

As of July 20, Missouri 1,357 COVID-19 patients were hospitalized, almost 13 times the number of 106 patients MassachusettsAlthough the population of Missouri is slightly smaller and more dispersed.

Does it matter if people are not vaccinated?

Ultimately, because most of the American population is still unvaccinated, COVID-19 will not disappear in the near future. The United States will continue to see outbreaks of the virus in communities with low vaccination rates.Even if people in these under-vaccinated areas are eager to get vaccinated when the epidemic breaks out, they need to Vaccination in about a month to generate strong immunity.

As long as SARS-CoV-2 is circulating in the United States, unvaccinated people will continue to experience the full and dangerous clinical effects of COVID-19. But in addition, while the virus spreads among unvaccinated people, it will continue to spread to vaccinated people at a low level. Although most infections do not develop into severe COVID-19, According to CDCAs of mid-July, more than 5,000 vaccinated people have been hospitalized and 1,000 of them have died, most of whom are over 65 years of age. These numbers are certainly sad, but they pale in comparison to the number of hospitalizations and deaths among the unvaccinated people.

The role of vaccines is exactly their purpose: to prevent severe COVID-19 with amazing efficiency. Because the vaccine is free and widely available, this is an option for most people in the United States: Do you want to be part of the unvaccinated or vaccinated United States?

Rodney E. Rod, Professor of Clinical Laboratory Science, Texas State University and Ryan McNamara, Associate Researcher of Microbiology and Immunology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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