Thursday, August 5

Covid-19 vaccines saved nearly 280,000 lives in U.S., research says

(CNN) — Covid-19 vaccines saved hundreds of thousands of lives and prevented more than a million hospitalizations in the United States, according to new estimates from researchers at Yale University and the Commonwealth Fund.

The researchers compared actual trends in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths with a modeled trajectory of what those trends would have been had there been no vaccines.

At the end of June, researchers estimate that there would have been around 279,000 additional deaths due to COVID-19, about 46% more than those recorded, and up to 1,250,000 additional hospitalizations if there were no vaccines. And if vaccinations had progressed at half the rate they did, about 121,000 more people could have died and more than 450,000 more would have been hospitalized.

In a briefing on Thursday, White House COVID-19 response director Jeff Zients called this new research “a powerful reminder of what is at stake in our vaccination efforts.”

“This is further proof that our whole government strategy is working and has prevented further tragedies and significant disruption to the lives and livelihoods of Americans,” he said.

The researchers’ model considered factors including the prevalence and transmissibility of new variants, vaccine efficacy rates, mobility patterns – which drive daily contacts – and age-specific risks of serious health outcomes due to COVID. -19.

Most of the additional deaths would have occurred due to a “rise and spread of the most transmissible alpha variant,” according to the researchers. The alpha variant, also known as B.1.1.7 and first identified in the UK, became the dominant strain in the US in the spring.

Without the vaccines, the researchers estimate that there could have been a spring surge with nearly 4,500 deaths per day, even more than the January peak of roughly 3,400 daily deaths.

The researchers compared their model to actual trends between mid-December 2020, when vaccines began in the US, and the end of June 2021. However, the model was simulated using data through October 2020, to balance the differences. lower incidence rates with winter swells.

Almost 48% of the US population, about 156 million people, is fully vaccinated, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Over the past week, an average of about 432,000 people were fully vaccinated each day, 76% less than the peak rate of nearly 1.8 million people each day in mid-April.

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