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Update and Clarification to Yesterday's Leadership Notes

January 13, 2022

Leadership Notes


In setting up the subject for next week's LN, I included this observation from Rochelle Walensky, Director of the CDC. When asked about the reported numbers of those who have died since the beginning of the pandemic, she "admitted that over 75% of COVID deaths occurred in people who had at least four comorbidities. So really, these are people who are unwell to begin with.”


I heard from several thoughtful folks who felt context was missing from her observation. Without getting lost in the weeds, here's a little more depth:


Walensky was simply reporting the findings of a recent CDC study.

"Among 1,228,664 persons who completed primary vaccination during

December 2020–October 2021, severe COVID-19–associated outcomes

(0.015%) or death (0.0033%) were rare. Risk factors for severe outcomes

included age ≥65 years, immunosuppressed, and six other underlying

conditions. All persons with severe outcomes had at least one risk factor;

78% of persons who died had at least four."


And the study saw the following implications for public health: