Over 65? Dr. Fauci Warns of a "Severe Outcome" to COVID If You Don't Do This
THE INFECTIOUS DISEASE EXPERT HAS DIRECTED A NEW ALERT AT OLDER AMERICANS.
Over the last two years, the coronavirus has made one million Americans so severely ill that they have died as a result. While that tragic outcome is a worst case scenario, there are a wide variety of ways a COVID case can pan out. Many people don't even know they're infected until they test positive because they never develop symptoms, while others get sick enough to need hospitalization. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has pinpointed a number of factors that could make you more prone to severe COVID, including your age. According to the agency, your risk of being hospitalized or dying from the coronavirus increases as you get older. With that in mind, one of the nation's most notable health experts has just released a new warning for those over the age of 65. Read on to find out what you need to do to avoid a "severe outcome" from COVID.
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More people over 65 are dying from COVID right now.
While older Americans have always been some of the most vulnerable to COVID, the situation has recently gotten more concerning for this group. A new report from The New York Times found that the death rate among people 65 years and older increased during the Omicron wave. According to the newspaper, the same number of Americans this age died in the four months of Omicron's reign as in the six months of the Delta wave—even though the Delta variant reportedly causes more severe illness than the Omicron variant. And many of these individuals were fully vaccinated.
"This is not simply a pandemic of the unvaccinated," Andrew Stokes, PhD, an assistant professor in global health at Boston University, told The New York Times. "There's still exceptionally high risk among older adults, even those with primary vaccine series."
Fauci has a new warning for these older Americans.
During a June 1 interview with TheGrio, top White House COVID adviser Anthony Fauci, MD, discussed the rising risk for older Americans, especially as new mutated versions of the original Omicron variant emerge. According to Fauci, people 65 and older need to get a booster to raise their protection, because "you still have the susceptibility of a severe outcome if, in fact, you do get infected."
The latest data from the CDC indicates that more than 91 percent of the U.S. population 65 years and older have been fully vaccinated so far. But out of those, only 69 percent have gotten their first booster shot. The rate is even worse for a second booster, which the CDC and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized for Americans over 50 in March. Only 28.5 percent of the U.S. population 65 years old and older have gotten their second booster so far, according to the CDC.
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The virus expert said booster rates among certain groups are lower than in others.
Fauci told TheGrio that he is especially concerned about rising COVID cases among minorities in this older age group, as they typically live in more underserved communities. According to the infectious disease expert, the rate of these Americans getting booster shots is lower than the average, despite having had similar vaccination rates during the primary series.
"We're not seeing as much of an uptake of boosters among African-American and Hispanic [Americans]," Fauci told the news outlet, noting that less than 50 percent of Black Americans have gotten their booster. "We've got to make sure they realize that the immunity wanes."
The CDC recently strengthened its recommendation for second booster shots.
If you've already gotten your first booster, it might be time for you to go ahead and get your next shot. Any American 50 or older who received their initial booster shot at least four months ago is eligible for a second booster. On May 19, the CDC strengthened its recommendation for older Americans getting this additional boost—now saying that these individuals should get a second booster instead of just saying that they could based on eligibility.
"Over the past month we have seen steady increases in cases, with a steep and substantial increase in hospitalizations for older Americans," the CDC warned. "While older Americans have the highest coverage of any age group of first booster doses, most older Americans received their last dose (either their primary series or their first booster dose) many months ago, leaving many who are vulnerable without the protection they may need to prevent severe disease, hospitalization, and death."
According to The New York Times, more than one-quarter of Americans 65 and older had gotten their most recent vaccine dose more than a year prior, as of mid-May. And more than half of people in this age group had not had a shot within the last six months.
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