Indiana surpasses 15,000 COVID-19 deaths – IndyStar

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Indiana has surpassed 15,000 deaths from the COVID-19 virus, since the pandemic began more than a year and a half ago.

The state reported an additional 89 deaths Tuesday, all of which occurred within the past week, bringing the total number of deaths to 15,069 since March of 2020.

Given Indiana’s population of 6.7 million, that means about one in every 445 Hoosiers has died from the coronavirus.

For perspective, more people have died than live in Speedway (population 13,952) or Beech Grove (14,717).

The number of people who have died could fill Butler University’s Hinkle Fieldhouse, which has a capacity of 9,100, one and a half times.

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Most of the deaths have come in the past year. As of the end of September 2020 about 3,400 Indiana residents had succumbed to the virus.

During the COVID-19 surge last fall, before the arrival of the COVID-19 vaccine, more than 100 people were dying of COVID-19 each day. The most recent surge, fueled by the delta variant, saw about 40 deaths a day over a seven day average at the height.

The advent of the COVID-19 vaccine at the start of the year slowed the number of people dying considerably, especially since vaccine uptake has been highest in those over the age of 60.

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Vaccine has been shown to prevent severe disease, hospitalizations and deaths. 

Of the more than 33,851 people who have experienced a breakthrough infection, or about 1% of those vaccinated, only 229, or 0.007% of all vaccinated people, have died, according to the state’s vaccine dashboard. More than 90% of those deaths occurred in people 65 years of age and older. The average age for breakthrough deaths is 80.

While the vast majority of people who have died of COVID-19 were over the age of 70, about 20% of those who died — just over 3,000 — fell between the ages of 50 and 69.

An additional 492 people are considered probable COVID-19 deaths, meaning that a doctor ascribed their demise to the virus but they did not have a confirmatory test.

Although there are no guarantees with the coronavirus, the spike that Indiana witnessed earlier this month seems to be on the wane. At the start of the month, the state was seeing more than 4,200 cases over a seven day average. As of Monday, that had fallen to 2,787 cases.

Peaks in deaths, however, often trail peaks in cases by a few weeks due to the nature of the disease.

Contact IndyStar reporter Shari Rudavsky at  shari.rudavsky@indystar.com. Follow her on Facebook and on Twitter: @srudavsky.

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