Medical Technology

Unvaccinated 14 Times More Likely to Die From COVID

Editor’s note: Find the latest COVID-19 news and guidance in Medscape’s Coronavirus Resource Center.

While the growing number of breakthrough cases worries health officials, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, MD, reiterated that unvaccinated people are still most at risk from COVID-19.

“Infections among the unvaccinated continue to drive this pandemic, hospitalizations, and deaths — tragically, at a time when we have vaccines that can provide incredible protection,” Walensky said Monday at a White House news briefing.

Unvaccinated people are about six times more likely to test positive than vaccinated people, nine times more likely to be hospitalized, and 14 times more likely to die from COVID-related complications, Walensky said.

Though vaccine booster shots for all adults were authorized last week, Walensky said that “we are not losing sight of the goal to vaccinate all who are eligible with their primary vaccine series. Forty-seven million eligible American adults and more than twelve million teens are still not fully vaccinated and remain at highest risk of disease.”

Major COVID statistics keep turning upward, Walensky said.

The seven-day daily average of cases is about 92,800 per day, an 18% increase over the previous week, and about 5,600 people per day are being hospitalized with COVID, a 6% increase over last week, she said. The seven-day average of daily deaths is 1,000 per day.

Walensky said COVID vaccines are making it possible for people to safely gather for Thanksgiving celebrations, unlike last year.

“If you or your family members are not yet vaccinated, please consider the benefits of vaccination,” she said. “Roll up your sleeves and get protected or boosted, especially if you will be around those who are at higher risk or children under the age of five who are not yet eligible for vaccination.”

The CDC says 69.5% of the U.S. population received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine 59% is fully vaccinated and 18.7% has received a booster shot.


The White House. “Press Briefing by White House COVID-19 Response Team and Public Health Officials”

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