During the Omicron Wave, Death Rates Soared for Older People
Last year, people 65 and older died from Covid at lower rates than in previous waves. But with Omicron and waning immunity, death rates rose again.
By Benjamin Mueller and Eleanor Lutz
Despite strong levels of vaccination among older people, Covid killed them at vastly higher rates during this winter’s Omicron wave than it did last year, preying on long delays since their last shots and the variant’s ability to skirt immune defenses.
This winter’s wave of deaths in older people belied the Omicron variant’s relative mildness. Almost as many Americans 65 and older died in four months of the Omicron surge as did in six months of the Delta wave, even though the Delta variant, for any one person, tended to cause more severe illness.
While overall per capita Covid death rates have fallen, older people still account for an overwhelming share of them.
“This is not simply a pandemic of the unvaccinated,” said Andrew Stokes, an assistant professor in global health at Boston University who studies age patterns of Covid deaths. “There’s still exceptionally high risk among older adults, even those with primary vaccine series.”
The Omicron Wave Was Deadlier Than Delta for Older People in the U.S.
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