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I’ve put together a calculation of the number of excess COVID deaths over the past month that have resulted from non-vaccination. Obviously, this calculation is only an estimate and relies on certain assumptions.
The algebra on this is fairly easy, though I won’t bore you with the derivation (which would be difficult to display without special text features anyway). If:
- n = number of deaths from COVID
- IRR = incident rate ratio for death from COVID (i.e. the ratio of the death rates among the unvaccinated and the vaccinated)
- PV = the percentage of the population that is vaccinated
Then the number of deaths among the vaccinated (DV) is: DV = n x PV / (PV + ((1-PV) x IRR)).
The number of deaths among the unvaccinated (DU) is: DU = n – DV
The number of excess deaths among the unvaccinated (DE) is: DE = DU (1 – 1/IRR)
The latest estimate that I’ve seen of the IRR is 11.3, from this CDC report. This means that an unvaccinated person is 11.3 times more likely to die from Covid than a vaccinated person. The CDC reports (here) that the national vaccination rate (PV) is 53.8% of the entire population, 64.9% of the population aged 18 or older, and 82.5% of the population aged 65 and over. As I suspect that Covid deaths continue to be concentrated among older people, I used two PV figures for my estimate: 65% and 80%. (Note that in these calculations, a higher PV figure results in a lower number for excess deaths among the unvaccinated, so these are conservative figures.)
Finally, I used Worldometer (here) as a source for Covid deaths, selecting the one-month period from August 12 to September 11. I calculated that a total of 39,384 deaths were reported in this period.
Here are the results, which do differ depending on the vaccination rate (PV) that I assumed for the calculation.
Assuming 65% vaccination (PV=0.65): Deaths among the vaccinated (DV) is 5,559; deaths among the unvaccinated (DU) is 33,825; excess deaths among the unvaccinated (DE) is 30,832.
Assuming 80% vaccination (PV=0.80): Deaths among the vaccinated (DV) is 10,296; deaths among the unvaccinated (DU) is 29,088; excess deaths among the unvaccinated (DE) is 26,513.
As a sensitivity analysis, I also ran the calculation for a somewhat lower death figure (38,000) and a somewhat lower vaccine effectiveness (IRR=10). This yielded estimates of excess deaths among the unvaccinated of 24,429-28,843. Obviously, these are estimates, so while I report the precise figures determined by my calculations (to the nearest whole number), I think that these figures should be interpreted as a reasonable range.
Based on these figures, I think that it’s reasonable to conclude that about 24,000 to 30,000 Americans died of COVID, during the month ending 9/11/2021, because they were not vaccinated. That’s about 8-10 times the death toll from the actual 9/11. Another way of thinking about it is that we’ve had a 9/11-worth of death every 3-4 days over the past month, due to individual decisions not to be vaccinated.
The vaccinations may have caused other problems, as there are some side effects, and there may be future side effects.
This death toll probably explains the President’s actions in mandating vaccination in a number of circumstances. You may or may not agree with his decision as a policy matter, but I think that it is important to understand the death toll that he probably considered in making his decision.
For the record, I disagree with the President’s decision about vaccine mandates. If people prefer to risk death from Covid rather than take a chance on vaccination, I would respect that decision. I respect the decision of the 24,000-30,000 Americans who, by my estimate, died during the past month or so as a result of their decision not to be vaccinated.
If I were in charge, I would not require anyone to be vaccinated. I would reopen everything including schools, put an end to all mask requirements everywhere, report the facts, and continue to offer free vaccination to any American who wants it.
Two other related points:
- The Worldometer graphs for both cases and deaths suggest that we’re past the peak of the current wave, and things are going to get better over the next month or two. No guarantees, but this seems to be the trend.
- There is some evidence that the efficacy of the vaccines diminishes over time. The CDC is now recommending a booster shot for those who received the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, 8 months after their second shot, for people who are moderately to severely immunocompromised. FDA approval of this recommendation is pending. If this recommendation remains in effect, I will plan to get a booster shot myself, next January.
For those of you who are not vaccinated, I do urge you to do consider getting the shot, for the sake of your own health. Well, with some caveats. We don’t have a precise figure for risks and benefits, but my general sense is that you should probably get the shot if you’re over 40; that it’s a close call if you’re 25-40; and that you shouldn’t get the shot if you’re under 25.
However, each of you has to weigh the risks and benefits, and I will respect your decision. I hope that this information proves helpful.Published in