A record nine in 10 deaths from Covid in the US are now among the elderly, official data shows – as the disease is now definitively becoming a disease of old age.
As with most viruses, the elderly have been more vulnerable to Covid during the pandemic, but in recent months fatalities have shifted further towards the over-65s, with a record 92 percent of all Covid deaths two weeks ago.
Researchers are not clear on what may be behind this trend, although uptake of the bivalent vaccine was low and only a quarter of the elderly received the injections.
About 100 Americans are still dying from Covid every day, which is well below the 2020 peak of nearly 4,000 deaths per day, but some experts say this is still too high.
Some doctors are already warning that the next Covid variant could mutate to become more deadly.
The chart above shows the proportion of Covid deaths among those over 65 (red line) and those 64 and under (green line). While the elderly have always caused the bulk of Covid deaths, their share has now risen to record levels
The chart above shows the number of Covid deaths reported in the US. About 100 are now being recorded every day, well below the peak of nearly 4,000 at the start of the pandemic
This graph shows the number of reported Covid cases. About 305,000 are now reported every week, although this is probably an underestimate due to little testing
The fact that the deaths are targeting the elderly could raise tough questions about lockdown policies — which have forced millions to stay home.
In 2020, a group of scientists called for a targeted approach in which the elderly are placed in lockdown, but young people can live their lives.
At the time, it was heavily criticized by mainstream scientists, including Dr. Anthony Fauci and former NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins as fringe figures.
Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows there were 808 weekly Covid deaths in mid-November, with 744 of those among those over 65.
Only 15 fatalities – or 1.8 percent – were recorded among those age 55 and under.
The share of deaths among the elderly has been on an upward trend since December last year and reached eight in ten in April.
The next major Covid variant WILL be more deadly, doctors warn
The world’s next major Covid strain is poised to be more severe than the mild strains that currently dominate the world, according to a new study.
The ultra-contagious Omicron strain emerged almost exactly one year ago, and its mutant spinoffs have risen to the top in virtually every country in the world.
They are much milder than the older versions of the virus and many researchers believed they were some kind of endgame to the evolution of Covid, which, like many viruses before it, mutate to become milder so they can spread more easily.
But researchers in South Africa say the virus could still become more deadly after examining an immunocompromised HIV patient who carried the virus for six months.
Over time, the virus evolved to cause more cell death and cell fusion, leading to increased inflammation in the lungs. According to Professor Alex Sigal, the virologist who led the study, these effects were more similar to those of the ancestral Covid strain than the Omicron strain.
The patient studied is one of the longest known patients on Omicron, widely believed to have evolved into someone with a severely weakened immune system.
At the same time, however, the number of Covid deaths has been on a downward trend since this summer.
In July it was about 3,000 per week, while it is now less than 1,000, although data is still being collected for the last week.
While Covid hasn’t really taken off this winter, experts are concerned about ‘triplemic’, with flu and RSV already driving record numbers of hospitalizations for this time of year.
CDC data shows that there have been about 6.2 million flu cases and 2,900 deaths from this disease since October.
By comparison, Covid accounted for 2.2 million confirmed cases and 14,000 deaths at the time. It is likely that the number of Covid cases is higher, but less testing means many go undiagnosed.
About 100,000 RSV cases have also been detected since October, but this is probably an underestimate due to a lack of testing. The virus is the cause of about 14,000 deaths per year.
Concerns had been raised about the increase in Covid deaths among young people after a Harvard University analysis found that the average age of fatalities fell from 78 years in 2020 to 69 years in 2021.
But scientists suggested that this drop was likely due to more older adults dying earlier in the pandemic.
They also said it may be related to a higher chance of getting vaccinated and adhering to Covid restrictions in older groups.
CDC data shows that while more than 95 percent of people over 65 received the first two-dose Covid vaccines.
But this percentage has dropped to less than a quarter for the new Omicron-specific bivalent jabs.
Covid is expected to become the third leading cause of death this year, with about 150,000 to 175,000 fatalities, the government said. Washington Post.
In comparison, about 500,000 people died in the first year of the pandemic.
Diseases behind more deaths are likely to be both cancer and heart disease, at 600,000.
Covid is likely to lead to similar deaths from accidents (170,000), strokes (150,000) and Alzheimer’s disease, 120,000.
However, flu kills about 12,000 to 52,000 people each year.
Researchers suggest that more deaths may occur in the elderly due to the slower vaccination drive.
Some experts argue that the number of deaths from Covid remains too high.
Dr. Matthew Liao, a bioethics expert at New York University, said, “There’s a little bit of ageism involved, so to speak.
“People, even if they are older, still have as much right to life as I do.”
CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky also previously said at a press conference, “We can now prevent almost all deaths.”
But Joe Biden has previously declared the Covid pandemic over and virtually all restrictions lifted nationwide.