Jun 9, 2021 - Health

CDC: Severe COVID cases, deaths plummeted in spring following vaccine

Data: Our World in Data; Chart: Axios Visuals
Data: Our World in Data; Chart: Axios Visuals

COVID-19 cases, deaths, related hospitalizations and ER visits have all declined considerably this year, especially among older, vaccinated adults, according to a new CDC report.

Why it matters: The data bears it out: Greater vaccine coverage in the U.S. is correlated with a precipitous drop in the number of people getting seriously ill.

  • COVID cases hit its lowest point last week since the pandemic began of about 16,500 new cases per day, with decreased cases in 43 states and steady rates in seven.

By the numbers: COVID-19 incidence among all adults during April 18-May 1 this year was 69% lower than before a vaccine received emergency authorization in December, the report says.

  • Decreases in cases were nearly 80% lower for people 65 and older and 71% lower for those 50-64. For 18-49 year-olds, incidence was 66% lower.
  • Hospitalizations decreased by 63% for all ages and deaths by 80% during the same time period.
  • By May 1, 69% of persons older than 65 and 26% of persons 18–49 years were fully vaccinated.

Yes, but: Younger adults have had declining vaccine coverage since mid-April despite increases in vaccine supply and open eligibility in states by the spring.

  • CDC data posted last week show Black and Hispanic Americans are once again seeing higher coronavirus case rates than white Americans — as their vaccination rates continue to lag.

What to watch: NIAID director Anthony Fauci said Tuesday at a press briefing that officials will "continue to keep pushing" vaccinations nationwide even if the U.S. doesn't hit President Biden's goal of getting shots to 70% of adults by July 4. Just over half of American adults have at least one shot, according to the CDC.

  • "If you don't meet the precise goal and you fall short by a few percent, that doesn't mean you stop in your effort," he said.
Go deeper