Ohio led the nation in deaths from COVID-19 for the past seven days.
The conclusion, with a New York Times federal data tracker, belies the good news that infections and hospitalizations from the novel coronavirus tended to decline in the first month of 2022 in Ohio and the United States
Death data tends to lag infections and other pandemic indicators by three to four weeks, leaving the current picture somewhat hazy. In December 2021, more than 105 Ohioans died from COVID-19 on average per day.
While hospitalizations and infections are declining, they continue to occur at some of the highest rates in the pandemic. More than 13,000 Ohioans on average contract COVID-19 a day, according to an analysis of state data. More than 230 a day are admitted to hospitals with COVID-19. Nearly 4,750 Ohioans are currently hospitalized with COVID-19, according to the Ohio Hospital Association.
“It’s a real mixed bag and I think it gets lost in this desire to find the positive news,” said Mark Cameron, an immunologist at Case Western Reserve University. “It fundamentally undermines the seriousness of what some people are going through right now and the continued need for precautions.”
While the Omicron variant has proven its ability to infect some vaccinated people, the risk of hospitalization and death overwhelmingly falls on unvaccinated people. In Ohio, more than 94% of all hospitalizations and deaths since January 1, 2021 have occurred in people who are not fully vaccinated.
In terms of vaccination coverage, Ohio fares poorly nationally. About 61% of Ohioans of all ages have received at least one dose of the vaccine, compared to a national rate of about 76%. Ohio remains the 8th least vaccinated state in the nation.
In an interview, Cameron emphasized several points. For one thing, while this current wave may have peaked, COVID-19 holds more surprises as it enters its third year. More variants are likely, and they may get more severe disease or be able to escape immunity from a previous vaccination or infection. With them will come other outbreaks, most likely during cold and flu season in late fall and early winter.
Additionally, while some recent metrics are encouraging, COVID-19 is still raging in Ohio. And there is no guarantee that a decrease today means a decrease will continue tomorrow.
“As the good news comes in, that’s great, as the cases go down, that’s good news too,” he said. “But the dead must not lose their meaning, must not lose their tragedy. We need to continue to be ready for the next push and not pretend it’s gone. »
This story was originally published by The Ohio Capital Journal and republished here with permission.
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