More than 10,000 people have died from COVID-19 in Colorado, a tragic milestone that comes on the anniversary of the first shipment of Pfizer vaccine to arrive in the state and roughly 21 months after the global pandemic began.
State health officials said the vast majority of those still dying from COVID-19 are not vaccinated, although some people with immune systems, weakened health conditions or age have died from the virus despite being vaccinated.
Almost 69% of eligible Coloradans – people 5 years and older – are fully vaccinated, with higher vaccination rates in older age groups. More than 1.2 million people in Colorado, or 43.5% of those who were fully vaccinated, also received boosters.
Nearly three quarters of COVID-19 deaths in Colorado in October, the last month for which complete data are available, came from an unvaccinated minority.
As of Tuesday afternoon, 10,018 people have died from COVID-19 in Colorado, according to the State Department of Health and Environment.
This number only includes cases where the virus has been identified as a cause of death and that occurred in the state. Between 200 and 300 of these deaths could have been out-of-state residents who were transferred to Colorado hospitals and died there.
On the same day that 10,000 people died in Colorado, the United States surpassed 800,000 deaths from COVID-19, with more recorded in 2021 than in 2020. In 2020, the virus had fewer months to claim lives as it arrived in February and only settled in March, but Americans had better tools to lower the likelihood of dying this year: vaccines and monoclonal antibodies that reduce the likelihood of serious illness. more than 70% among people at high risk.
The current wave is Colorado’s second-highest lethality, second only to a surge that began in fall 2020 and ended in late winter 2021. At the peak of this wave in early December 2020, 481 people died in one week. The worst point of the current wave was the second week of November, when 259 people died.
In November 2020, 2,500 people died in the state due to COVID-19; 5,000 in February; and 7,500 in early September. Vaccines have been available to all adults since the beginning of summer.
Despite a grim milestone, the COVID-19 situation in Colorado is starting to improve. The incidence and percentage of test positives are declining. The number of hospitalizations is also declining, although they are still higher than during the first wave in spring 2020.
Usually, when the number of hospitalizations falls, death occurs within a few weeks. It is difficult to be sure that this trend has started because the delay in reporting means the public will not know the final losses this week until the end of the month or perhaps early January.
Despite rising death tolls, Colorado suffered fewer casualties than most states.
Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that the state has the ninth highest death rate compared to the population in the country: about 167 for every 100,000 people. (CDC data lags slightly behind state comparisons, but Colorado’s rankings are unlikely to have changed significantly in the past few days.)