COVID deaths continue to be concentrated in older age groups


FILE – This 2020 electron microscope image made available by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows the spherical coronavirus particles from what was believed to be the first U.S. case of COVID-19. A new analysis of blood samples from 24,000 Americans taken early last year is the latest and largest study to suggest that the coronavirus popped up in the U.S. in December 2019 — weeks before cases were first recognized by health officials. (C.S. Goldsmith, A. Tamin/CDC via AP)

DENVER (KDVR) — The now-prevalent delta strain of COVID-19 will pose new threats to Colorado’s elderly population.

The vast majority of new COVID cases in Colorado are of the delta variant, according to health officials. Data is still new and hazy, but studies cited by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have identified ten times the viral load in delta samples than in the original wild strain.

This makes the delta strain more transmissible, and various datasets suggest it may be associated with higher odds of hospitalization.

Colorado’s COVID death data emphasizes the risk to older age groups.

Of the 6,957 deaths attributed to COVID, 88% have been concentrated in Coloradans 60 years old and older.

A narrow majority of deaths happen to the oldest age group. Coloradans aged 80 years old and older account for 50.47% of the state’s COVID deaths.

Nearly a quarter, or 24.16%, happened to the 70-79 age group. Coloradans aged 60-69 account for 13.46% of COVID deaths.

The state’s recent outbreak data reinforces the trend.

Since June, only 8% of the outbreaks – 21 in total – the health department has identified have produced a COVID-related death.

The overwhelming share of them happened in healthcare facilities that specialize in the elderly. Eighteen total deaths related to outbreaks, or 86% of the outbreak-related COVID fatalities since June, happened in either skilled nursing facilities or assisted care facilities.

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