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COVID-19 data sees decoupling of hospitalizations and deaths

In places where large sections of the population are vaccinated, even when cases jump hospitalizations don't.

Let’s talk waves.

No, not those waves-COVID waves.

In 2020, every wave of cases resulted in a similar looking wave of hospitalizations and deaths.

As cases increased, a week or so later so would hospitalizations, and as hospitalizations increased, a few weeks later so unfortunately would deaths. 

Eventually the cases would peak, the wave would crest and hospitals would start to calm. 

Which brings us to a critical goal of vaccinations.

With Delta circulating, we know we’re going to see more waves. The key is, will the vaccine ease the hospitalizations and deaths that routinely followed last year. 

Take the United Kingdom for example. A few months ago cases once again started to rise quickly-another wave was upon them. 

But this time, in a country with more than 60% of its residents vaccinated, the case wave was not followed by a similar increase in hospitalizations. 

While cases jumped, hospitalizations didn’t. The two metrics, in essence, decoupled from one another. 

That’s a good sign the vaccine is working by preventing the most serious of cases

The problem is that’s not what we’re seeing in many states in the U.S. 

Look at Idaho and Tennessee for example. Two states far apart, both have seen recent record case spikes, which have led to sharp and record-breaking increases in hospitalizations as well.  

No decoupling in either.

There are now more people in Tennessee and Idaho hospitals than at any previous point in the pandemic. 

Why? It’s not entirely clear – although pockets of both states remain highly unvaccinated and thus unprotected from the virus.

Why pay attention to this? Because as long as cases AND hospitalizations continue to rise in unison, it’s going to be tough to put these waves, and thus the pandemic itself, behind us.