The new CDC data tells us that the vaxed are done with the pandemic, for now.

October 17, 2021 By Alan Salzberg

The CDC just published data regarding the cases, hospitalizations, and deaths from Covid, by age and vaccination status (see CDC data here).  The news is good for those who are vaxed.

During the worst of the delta wave, which began to subside a few weeks ago, unvaccinated experienced another January 2021.  Adjusting for population, the monthly deaths among unvaccinated were the highest ever, 117,000, larger even during January 2021 (when it was just over 100k).  The only reason why actual deaths were far lower is that a substantial portion of the country is vaccinated. 

Using the vaccination rates and deaths per 100,000, I used the CDC data to figure out the chances of dying from Covid, for vaxed and unvaxed.  As this data is July through the first week of September, the vaccinated did not yet have booster shots, so we can assume that the 65+ numbers will improve in the future.  Also, there were so few deaths in the vaxed 12-17 age group, that the CDC said there were insufficient numbers to calculate it (see here).  

Below is a table comparing the monthly chances of dying during a bad outbreak (i.e., the worst months ever).

There are two take-aways from the chart that I see: 1) the unboosted vaccine is very effective in those below the age of 65, and 2) your chances of dying from Covid are tiny, even in a terrible month, if you're vaccinated and under 65.

To give you an idea of how tiny, I compared this terrible delta period to a bad flu season (2017-2018).  This time, I only showed the vaccinated rates.  As you can see below, the chances of dying from the flu ranged from much higher to about the same, depending on age, if you are vaccinated.

So, if you're under 30 and vaxed, your risks are far lower of dying from Covid than the flu.  If you're vaxed and over 30 (but under 65), your risks are slightly lower of dying from Covid than the flu.  Hospitalizations follow a similar trend, by the way.  If you're over 65, Covid is still a little worse when vaxed (pre-booster).

[Note that the flu has almost disappeared at this point.  So your combined risk of flu + Covid this year is likely going to be well below the risk of flu in a bad flu year, if you're vaccinated for Covid]

What's the take away?  If you're vaccinated and under 65, you do not need to take any more precautions than you would have for the flu.  If you're over 65 and vaccinated, you're risks are higher than for the flu, but not astronomically so.  Still, if you're 65+, go get a booster shot--for at least a few months the effect will be lowering your risks to well below flu risk.

What could go wrong?  

1. A variant beyond the vaccines reach might emerge. 2. Vaccine effectiveness for those under 65 could start to wane substantially, requiring a booster.

What could go right?

1. Delta will probably slowly fizzle due to increasing acquired immunity, vaccination, and boosters.  2. There may not be many more likely variants that can escape vaccination, be contagious enough to dominate, and be deadly.