Vaccines could have prevented roughly 90,000 deaths from COVID-19 in the U.S. over the summer, according to a new study.
“From June through September 2021, approximately 90,000 COVID-19 deaths among adults likely would have been prevented with vaccination,” concluded an analysis by the Peterson Center on Healthcare and the Kaiser Family Foundation published Wednesday.
During that period, vaccines were free and widely available.
“The overwhelming majority of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths continue to be preventable,” the study added.
Half of the deaths in the four-month period occurred in September, when the delta variant was surging, and as “local and state governments [were] easing up social distancing restrictions” and many young adults were not being vaccinated, the study said. COVID was the leading cause of death for adults aged 35 to 54 that month.
COVID-19 was the third leading cause of death for most of 2020, but in December 2020 and early 2021, the “illness surged and briefly became the number one leading cause of death in the U.S. — far surpassing even cancer and heart disease deaths in those months” for all adults, according to the study.
COVID deaths began declining this month, but an average of over 1,600 people continued to die of COVID-19 each day in the first week of October.
An “overwhelming majority of COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. have been among unvaccinated people,” the analysis added.
Nearly 711,000 Americans have died of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic in March 2020.