DENVER (KDVR) — As older age groups get their poke in the arm, Colorado’s COVID fatalities may defy COVID case patterns.
The state’s cases are rising to levels seen in January, but vaccinations of target groups appear to have contributed to death counts as low as they’ve ever been.
Cases have trended gently upward in Colorado since March 15 following a steady downward slope going back to mid-November. As of April 7, there were an average 1,380 cases per day – 500 more daily cases than March 16.
Death counts typically follow case counts by two or three weeks, so there may be an uptick in the making, but so far this has not translated into an accompanying increase in deaths.
On the contrary, deaths among COVID cases have continued downward uninterrupted despite an early January case uptick and this most recent mid-March upward swing.
The most recent seven-day deaths among cases average counts 2.4 deaths per day.
In pandemic history, there have only been 20 single days where the seven-day average was that low or lower; all of them occurred during the low summer numbers of 2020 before the fall third wave.
This may be related to the fact that the number of daily vaccines have quintupled since December.
Currently, over a third of Colorado’s population has received at least one dose of vaccines. One-fifth of the state is now fully immunized.
Daily immunization totals typically cluster over weekends and vary wildly between, but the seven-day average shows a steady upward trend. As of April 4, health care workers administered an average 45,000 vaccines per day. During the first month of vaccine rollouts, they administered less than 10,000 per day.
Since 85% of COVID deaths happen to age groups over 60, vaccines probably played a role. Most of the Coloradans in these age groups have been partially or fully vaccinated.
According to state records, vaccines have been given to 660,000 Coloradans in the 60-69 age range, 476,000 to the 70-79 age range, and 213,000 to the 80+ age range.
This means as many or more vaccines have been distributed in those populations as there are people in them.
This does not mean each age group has been fully vaccinated, only that health care workers have administered that many vaccines. Still, it does point to a high level of immunity in the age groups most likely to die from COVID.