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25 Jan 2022

U.S. COVID Death Rate Climbs Even as Data Signals End of Peak

The Index Today

In stark contrast to the declining number of COVID-19 cases and related hospitalizations, the death rate in the U.S. continues to rise, much to the consternation of experts and the public.

The COVID-19 mortality rate hit a record 11-month high with an 11% increase in the previous week. Omicron-related deaths have now exceeded the death rate spurred by its more severe and dangerous counterpart, the Delta variant of the coronavirus. On an average, 2,200 people, a majority of them unvaccinated, are succumbing to Omicron infections.

Wafaa El-Sadr, a New York City-based professor of epidemiology and medicine at Columbia University contended, "It will be a while until we see [a] decrease in death as very sick people with COVID remain hospitalized for a long time." Although the Omicron is a comparatively milder variant of COVID-19, it has been spreading rapidly through the population causing a surge in the number of cases worldwide.

Professor El-Sadr notes in an email, "Even if such new variants cause less severe disease (particularly among those vaccinated and boosted), we will likely still see an increase in hospitalizations and deaths due to vulnerability of unvaccinated and unboosted."

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