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Wis. data show unvaccinated people are 11 times more likely to die of COVID

DHS data show unvaccinated people in the Badger State are 9 times more likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19 than vaccinated people.
Published: Sep. 15, 2021 at 2:21 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 15, 2021 at 6:19 PM CDT
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Wis. (WBAY) - Another milestone reached Wednesday in the fight against COVID-19: 1 in 500 Americans have now died of the virus since the United States’s first reported case, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

That milestone, along with new data confirming the effectiveness of the vaccine, gives local doctors hope that more people will get the vaccine.

“Eighty-plus percent of people that are getting admitted in hospitals that are in the ICU are now unvaccinated,” said Dr. Imran Andrabi, ThedaCare president and CEO.

ThedaCare isn’t the only health care system seeing an increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations among unvaccinated people in the state.

“Far and away, the people who are presenting to the hospital with severe COVID are in the unvaccinated population,” said infectious disease Dr. Joseph McBride, U.W. School of Medicine and Public Health. “If you’re presenting in this situation with severe COVID, by that point it’s truly too late to receive a COVID vaccine to have any kind of real benefit from it.”

New data released by the CDC, where researchers looked at 600,000 virus cases in 13 states, found those who are unvaccinated are 10 times more likely to be hospitalized with the virus and 11 times more likely to die from it.

In Wisconsin, DHS numbers released Wednesday show they are similar to national averages. Unvaccinated people in the Badger State are 9 times more likely to be hospitalized and 11 times more likely to die from the virus compared to those who are fully vaccinated.

Dr. McBride said those numbers will continue to change depending on how much the virus is circulating in any given community, but bottom line, he said, it’s proof the vaccine is effective.

“If a person is waiting to maybe see if they’ve got signs or symptoms before they get the shot, that really is too late,” said Dr. McBride. “The number I think a lot of people can remember is nationwide, 10 times decrease amount of severe COVID compared to the unvaccinated population.”

Although effective, he said there will be breakthrough infections, but Dr. McBride said the numbers show vaccinated people are less likely to end up with severe infection.

“Breakthrough infections are not unique to COVID. Every single vaccine has breakthrough possibility,” said Dr. McBride. “What vaccines are designed to do is to lower the risk of individuals and the public health. Some of the data that’s been coming out really shows that the vaccine is really accomplishing that, for the individual and for the community at large.”

With the new data, both Dr. McBride and Dr. Andrabi hope more people get the COVID-19 vaccine.

“If we want to make sure that we do have those resources and staffing and beds and ICU and ventilators available when, God forbid, you need it because somebody you love had a stroke. Do it for that, right? Do it for yourself if you don’t want to have long COVID. We don’t know how long this thing is going to last after somebody even recovers. Do it for not ending up in the hospital,” said Dr. Andrabi.

A graphical representation of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths among the vaccinated...
A graphical representation of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths among the vaccinated and others in Wisconsin in August, 2021.(Wisconsin Department of Health Services)

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