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Unvaxxed hospitalization rate has now surpassed last year’s horrific peak

Thursday, Dec 2, 2021

* Lisa Schencker, Joe Mahr and Dan Petrella

And a Tribune analysis shows this surge is predominantly felt by the unvaccinated, more so than at any point since mass vaccination began. In the most recent week ending Wednesday, those who weren’t fully vaccinated were being admitted to the hospital with COVID-19 at a rate of 38 per 100,000 residents. That’s higher than the peak of the fall 2020 surge, when no one was vaccinated, and the weekly admittance rate topped out at 35 per 100,000 residents.

For those fully vaccinated, the weekly admittance rate has hovered between 1 and 4 people per 100,000 residents during both surges since this summer.

* On November 25th of last year, before vaccines were available, the hospitalization rate was 35.2 per 100,000 people. Now, it’s 38 per 100,000 among the unvaxed

This really isn’t hard to figure out: Get your shots, people.

Without that vaccine, hospitals everywhere would be overflowing with patients again.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

52 Comments
  1. - Demoralized - Thursday, Dec 2, 21 @ 10:43 am:

    Hospitalization is the number that matters. The total case count is irrelevant if those people have mild symptoms and don’t require hospitalization. These people need to realize that the longer they stay unvaccinated the longer mitigations remain in place. They continue to be selfish. It would never work here but other countries are locking things down for the unvaccinated. I can’t think of any other way to force these people to get their shots other than totally ostracizing them from participating in society. It’s done some good at increasing vaccination rates in other countries. Unfortunately that’s not an option here. So here we are. Status quo. These people should be ashamed of themselves.


  2. - Nick - Thursday, Dec 2, 21 @ 10:43 am:

    But I was told by a certain NFL quarterback though that it’s NOT a pandemic of the unvaccinated

    truly shocking that it’s the opposite


  3. - Demoralized - Thursday, Dec 2, 21 @ 10:46 am:

    Continuing . . . there are some things we could do to these people and that includes either dropping them from insurance or making their premiums extremely high. They could also ban travel on public transportation (i.e. airplanes) without being vaccinated. We should start using whatever hammers we do have to force the issue.


  4. - Flyin' Elvis'-Utah Chapter - Thursday, Dec 2, 21 @ 10:50 am:

    I’m in my 50’s and honestly feel like I know less about human nature than I did 30 years ago.


  5. - H-W - Thursday, Dec 2, 21 @ 10:56 am:

    == These people need to realize that the longer they stay unvaccinated the longer mitigations remain in place. They continue to be selfish. ==

    The vast majority of the unvaccinated are committed to winning an argument they cannot win. They are so invested in winning that argument that they cannot find a way to even begin to admit they “might” have been wrong all along. They simply must win at any cost, and the only way to win is to not vaccinate, bluster a lot, and then wait for the pandemic to run its course. It is a sad reality in which they find themselves living. It is also dangerous to so many others.


  6. - JS Mill - Thursday, Dec 2, 21 @ 11:10 am:

    =I’m in my 50’s and honestly feel like I know less about human nature than I did 30 years ago.=

    Ditto.

    The fanatical right have made schools a battleground for masking and vaccinations. As if that wasn’t enough they have doubled down and added CRT (see Virginia) which is a fantom issue. It mask me sick and I am tired of dealing with these issues literally daily. As a personal rule I never cheer for bad things to happen to people, but it gets harder and harder every day not to root against the real pandemic, the pandemic of stupid.


  7. - TinyDancer(FKASue) - Thursday, Dec 2, 21 @ 11:10 am:

    transmission = mutation

    So, until we stop transmission (vaccination and masks for everyone) we’ll be suck in this loop.


  8. - Anon221 - Thursday, Dec 2, 21 @ 11:12 am:

    Every unvaccinated person who could be vaccinated (and does not have an underlying health concern that precludes vaccination) that gets COVID and has to be hospitalized is stealing a bed from a person who needs cancer treatment, who has a heart attack, who was in an auto accident… the list goes on. This segment on the PBS Newshour last night is a good summation- https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/vaccinated-americans-reflect-on-breakthrough-infections-infuriating-anti-vaccine-views


  9. - illinifan - Thursday, Dec 2, 21 @ 11:12 am:

    I have a family member who is an ER doc. They said hospitals are packed as hospitals have brought back regular procedures, the nurse shortage is real so there are less nurses to staff beds and COVID infections increasing. Often patients are held in the ER due to lack of available beds. Get vaccinated and take some stress off the system so hospitals can provide the care we expect.


  10. - AnonymousFool - Thursday, Dec 2, 21 @ 11:23 am:

    -Nick- If I want medical advice, I will ask a Doctor. If I want advice about how to beat Tampa 2 in Madden, I will consider asking Mr. “Natural Immunity”


  11. - Medvale School for the Gifted. - Thursday, Dec 2, 21 @ 11:30 am:

    Give me liberty, or give me a vax. Or give me both.


  12. - Anonfornow - Thursday, Dec 2, 21 @ 11:36 am:

    I work for a medical school. The unvaxxed aren’t just burning though currently licensed medical professionals, they’re causing burnout among students. They’re also burning through people like me, who work really hard at providing support to people studying to be doctors and other medical professionals. As an academic this is going to be interesting to study in a couple of years. As a human being, I’m completely appalled and worried about the long term consequences.


  13. - Chicago Cynic - Thursday, Dec 2, 21 @ 11:37 am:

    That chart and these stats should be compelling to anyone with a brain. Should be.


  14. - DuPage Moderate - Thursday, Dec 2, 21 @ 11:57 am:

    –This really isn’t hard to figure out: Get your shots, people.–

    Yelling into the ether at this point. These people are helpless and deserve what they get.


  15. - Streator Curmudgeon - Thursday, Dec 2, 21 @ 12:01 pm:

    ==The vast majority of the unvaccinated are committed to winning an argument they cannot win.==

    H-W is absolutely correct. If the FOX News believers admit they were wrong about vaccines, it might force them to question everything they hear on that network. Then their whole belief system might come tumbling down.

    We have now lost more Americans to Covid than were killed in the U.S. Civil War; 777,000 to about 750,000. The saddest part, of course, is that hundreds of thousands of those Covid deaths were preventable.

    I continue to be flummoxed by the brainwashing of the far right.


  16. - OneMan - Thursday, Dec 2, 21 @ 12:04 pm:

    As someone who is married to someone who has to deal with this, thank you for getting your shots those of you who have.

    Seriously, thanks.


  17. - Pot calling kettle - Thursday, Dec 2, 21 @ 12:15 pm:

    The list of anti-vax folks succumbing to the virus continues to grow. And yet, they seem more interested in sticking to (and spreading) their poorly-informed beliefs than acknowledging reality, admitting they were wrong, and encouraging their followers to get vaxxed.

    https://www.npr.org/2021/12/01/1060699340/marcus-lamb-daystar-television-network-dies-covid

    The Tribune’s graph is an excellent visual and needs to be shared broadly. If it convinces a few more people to get vaxxed, that’s a good thing.


  18. - Nicky - Thursday, Dec 2, 21 @ 12:17 pm:

    You would need 100 % vax rate
    With a vax that eliminates the virus for this to end


  19. - Norseman - Thursday, Dec 2, 21 @ 12:23 pm:

    === These people are helpless and deserve what they get. ===

    The problem isn’t what “they get,” it’s what others get from them[prohibited exclamation point]


  20. - Huh? - Thursday, Dec 2, 21 @ 12:24 pm:

    It’s fake news. I’ll be magnetized. Bill Gates will put a tracking device in me. I have natural immunity from a case of covid. It violates my rights. It’s an experimental drug. It was rushed to market. It doesn’t work, can still get infected.

    Just get the +×÷@ jab.


  21. - Smalls - Thursday, Dec 2, 21 @ 12:26 pm:

    Region 7 is down to only 3% of ICU beds available, 4 out of 133. How long with the state ignore it publicly when the hospitals are starting to get overwhelmed again?


  22. - Pundent - Thursday, Dec 2, 21 @ 12:26 pm:

    Rationing health care might have some effect but we likely don’t have the stomach for that. Beyond the lack of regard the unvaccinated have for health care workers, they’re also expecting the rest of us to willingly pay the freight. Covid hospitalizations and long term care will cost the rest of us billons of dollars. That’s how insurance works. We will be paying for these choices and consequences for decades. It’s ironic given how frequently we hear about the “liberty” and “freedom” of the unvaccinated.


  23. - SWSide - Thursday, Dec 2, 21 @ 12:28 pm:

    Why don’t we have a statewide indoor vaccine mandate again?


  24. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Dec 2, 21 @ 12:30 pm:

    === The problem isn’t what “they get,” it’s what others get from them===

    This is the correct viewpoint, as it’s not about “you” (the individual) and individuals can only help others *if* those individuals choose others.

    It’s not ironic, selfishness is dangerous to a greater good.


  25. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Dec 2, 21 @ 12:37 pm:

    ===Region 7 is down to===

    That’s Will and Kankakee counties. Both reasonably close to Chicago and suburban Cook. Will is close to DuPage.


  26. - Grandson of Man - Thursday, Dec 2, 21 @ 12:39 pm:

    We have to face that a big part of America is radicalized against health and science institutions (not to mention government and democracy). This was not the case in the past. People dutifully and quietly got their vaccines more or less. The people sowing political division on the right all these years got their wish.


  27. - Lt Guv - Thursday, Dec 2, 21 @ 12:40 pm:

    Illinifan - you nailed it. I’ve experienced the ER hold myself. I recently relocated to South suburban Denver. I few weeks ago I had come down with something and went to my doctor who sent me on to the ER. Diagnosis was pneumonia (non-covid related) and I was admitted mid-afternoon. They didn’t have a regular bed for me until the next morning. Got to spend an uncomfortable night in the ER, where the care was great, but the accommodations lacking. First world problems, I know. I am grateful for the care & treatment I received, but it demonstrates the backlog and capacity issues hospitals are grappling with these days. Get vaccinated, please.


  28. - DuPage Moderate - Thursday, Dec 2, 21 @ 12:52 pm:

    === This is the correct viewpoint, as it’s not about “you” (the individual) and individuals can only help others *if* those individuals choose others.

    It’s not ironic, selfishness is dangerous to a greater good.===

    True, if you believe that month 11 of shaming the idiots is going to do anything. It’s not. Hardly a blip.

    And maybe this is selfish but I’m not waiting around for them anymore or wasting energy or emotion on them anymore. I’ll keep getting the shots when they come out and will keep living my life.

    The alternative of locking down until the idiots comply is a recipe for a decade of loneliness and stress. I reject that.


  29. - TheInvisibleMan - Thursday, Dec 2, 21 @ 1:04 pm:

    == Region 7 is down to only 3% of ICU beds available ==

    Will county is in region 7, as mentioned above.

    Will county also has been ignoring the antimaskers and antivaxxers in administrative positions within the health department and public health committees.

    Will county has consistently had the worst metrics in the chicago metro region. When test positivity started rapidly increasing a few weeks ago, the health department responded by greatly reducing/stopping the posting of daily updates on their social media page. On any given week, the health department itself is only providing vaccinations on about half of the days of the week - at best.

    There’s a reason the IL national guard had to be deployed in Will county to run a vaccination site. The county has been performing poorly in providing public health services since this started.

    Remember that story last year about the health department greenlighting an indoor pizza buffet during the fall spike. That was the Will county health department.

    This is the performance which has led me to believe a more state-centric model for health departments, similar to the DMV model, would function much better. It can’t be worse. The state has already stepped up with the national guard to fill the gaps of this health department, and I see no reason the state wouldn’t perform much better by shifting all aspects under that umbrella instead of it being handled by the county.

    County level health departments made more sense 100 years ago, when travel was pretty much limited to the county someone lived in. Now that travel has advanced with the rest of our technology, the model of county level health departments needs to adjust to that change as well. There is simply too much risk to public health in sticking with an 100 year old model of county health departments.


  30. - Data junkie - Thursday, Dec 2, 21 @ 1:15 pm:

    I understand what the graph is saying, but it’s not an indicator of current hospital census. As of today our numbers are less than half of what they were in August, and just under 30% of what they were a year ago. This is in Springfield.


  31. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Dec 2, 21 @ 1:16 pm:

    ===not an indicator of current hospital census===

    Duh.

    It’s clearly labeled.


  32. - BigD - Thursday, Dec 2, 21 @ 1:20 pm:

    Had a friend tell me his wife went to the hospital with COVID in hopes of getting the antiviral meds and she didn’t qualify. I asked because she was unvaccinated and he said no. They were healthy with no underlying issues and did not qualify because the meds are set aside for so many depending on demographics and they didn’t fit into one of those that had any available. They even tried to purchase it outright and were not allowed. So, those that are not vaccinated don’t count on that either. I did try to confirm this and only found they will be distributed through the same state distribution.


  33. - thechampaignlife - Thursday, Dec 2, 21 @ 1:41 pm:

    ===Give me liberty, or give me a vax. Or give me both.===

    For them: Give me liberty, AND give me death (and/or you).

    ===The list of anti-vax folks succumbing to the virus continues to grow.===

    Natural selection in action.

    ===We will be paying for these choices and consequences for decades.===

    Yep, more GOP welfare recipients. If we allow insurers to discriminate based on vaccination status at the time of infection (unless unable to vaccinate), they would be paying for their own poor choices for decades.

    ===People dutifully and quietly got their vaccines more or less.===

    My theory is that we as a society tolerate a certain level of deaths. When it is low, we tolerate more risky activities. When it ticks up, we pull back. So, when polio was causing deaths and lifelong impairments, most gladly accepted the vaccine. When polio was gone, they started getting complacent. It has ebbed and flowed for various diseases over the decades, but we were lulled into a false sense of safety from such effective vaccines that many people forgot that those vaccines are the reason they are safe, and then they stopped taking them.


  34. - Smalls - Thursday, Dec 2, 21 @ 1:42 pm:

    Invisible Man with the rant of the day. Well done.


  35. - Norseman - Thursday, Dec 2, 21 @ 1:48 pm:

    === if you believe that month 11 of shaming the idiots is going to do anything. It’s not. Hardly a blip. ===

    The folks have tried bribery, reason, testimonials and shaming nothing has overcome the large number of holdouts for the free vaccine. That is why mandates are a must.


  36. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Dec 2, 21 @ 1:51 pm:

    === And maybe this is selfish but…===

    It is, but admitting it makes it no better.


  37. - Loop Lady - Thursday, Dec 2, 21 @ 2:12 pm:

    Godammit, misinformation is winning.
    I think we’re in for a long winter.


  38. - Lordy - Thursday, Dec 2, 21 @ 2:51 pm:

    Indoor vaccination mandate for nearly all public spaces should happen now.


  39. - thechampaignlife - Thursday, Dec 2, 21 @ 2:56 pm:

    ===The folks have tried bribery===

    Barely. The last stimulus check, or a new one, should have been contingent on vaccination, or certification of being medically unable. I think $2000 is a much stronger incentive than the handful of lotteries and other small potatoes that have been tried.


  40. - ArchPundit - Thursday, Dec 2, 21 @ 2:57 pm:

    ===Every unvaccinated person who could be vaccinated (and does not have an underlying health concern that precludes vaccination) that gets COVID and has to be hospitalized is stealing a bed from a person who needs cancer treatment, who has a heart attack, who was in an auto accident

    Bingo. I’ve mentioned my wife just had an artificial heart valve implanted last week (so open heart surgery–she’s doing great) and the Cardio ICU was full, the regular ICU was full, and the special ICU specific to Covid was full. Staff was exhausted though fantastic and just tired of this continuing. Most elective surgeries are being put off again in MN which is a bit ahead of Illinois in this particular surge.

    I just don’t get it at this point. I have a State Senator who happy to brag that he’s “Pureblood” (again MN, not IL). I just want to scream.


  41. - Thomas Paine - Thursday, Dec 2, 21 @ 3:31 pm:

    === Hospitalization is the number that matters. The total case count is irrelevant if those people have mild symptoms and don’t require hospitalization. ===

    That is a dangerously foolhardy philosophy.

    Every person who becomes infected becomes a test tube in a biological warfare lab to development a more virulent strain.

    Where do you think Delta and Omicron originated, if not from an unvaccinated person?


  42. - Aaron B - Thursday, Dec 2, 21 @ 4:01 pm:

    I just don’t even know how to argue with the antivaxer crowd any more. The chart in this post can’t really be any more clear to me why you should get the vaccine/booster. Sure the number of infections is troubling but I do believe that the hospitalization numbers are more important since those are the people that are having the more life threatening symptoms.


  43. - Demoralized - Thursday, Dec 2, 21 @ 4:10 pm:

    ==That is a dangerously foolhardy philosophy.==

    Only if you think COVID is going away, which it is not. I think some people are still operating under the assumption that we can get COVID infections down to zero. We can’t. I stand by my original statement. Vaccines help keep infection at bay by either preventing it or clearing it from your system fast.

    ==Where do you think Delta and Omicron originated, if not from an unvaccinated person?==

    Which is why people need to get vaccinated, which I believe was pretty clear in what I said.


  44. - Demoralized - Thursday, Dec 2, 21 @ 5:02 pm:

    ==That is a dangerously foolhardy philosophy.==

    To comment further - there will always be some baseline of infections. What an acceptable baseline is, is the question. I think I’ve heard Dr. Fauci say if we can get it in the 20,000 range per day then that would be a good baseline to be at. I’ll leave those sorts of questions to people like him.


  45. - danray - Thursday, Dec 2, 21 @ 5:03 pm:

    >

    Governor issued an indoor mask mandate in August.


  46. - danray - Thursday, Dec 2, 21 @ 5:04 pm:

    - SWSide - Thursday, Dec 2, 21 @ 12:28 pm:

    Why don’t we have a statewide indoor vaccine mandate again?


  47. - danray - Thursday, Dec 2, 21 @ 5:04 pm:

    sorry, long day. Carry on.


  48. - Thomas Paine - Thursday, Dec 2, 21 @ 6:18 pm:

    === there will always be some baseline of infections. ===

    Tell that to SARS-CoV-1, which began in 2002, was controlled and wiped out in 2004.

    Australia has 25 million people, only 200K COVID cases and only 2000 deaths.

    There is no scientific reason COVID cannot be obliterated, only a lack of unity and will.


  49. - Never-Trumper - Thursday, Dec 2, 21 @ 7:27 pm:

    Wasn’t Biden elected to stop the pandemic?


  50. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Dec 2, 21 @ 7:55 pm:

    ===Wasn’t Biden elected to stop the pandemic?===

    The unvaxxed are the ones not helping.

    If you ask a question like that then you either know it’s the unvaxxed and are ignoring it to own the libs, or you don’t grasp how vaccinations work and think vaccinations are not the answer.


  51. - Pundent - Thursday, Dec 2, 21 @ 9:46 pm:

    = Wasn’t Biden elected to stop the pandemic?=

    In part yes. And there are unvaccinated people who are just dying to make sure that doesn’t happen. Seems like an extreme way to own the libs if you ask me.


  52. - Lynn S. - Friday, Dec 3, 21 @ 9:43 am:

    @ DuPage Moderate 11:57–

    “These people are helpless”

    Sorry, gotta disagree.

    The word should have been “hopeless”.

    “Helpless”, to me implies that something can be done to get them to a better place or outcome.

    “Hopeless” is better to me, because those folks know how to get to a better place or outcome–masks/vaccines/social distancing while healthy and quarantine when sick–, and they refuse to do it because “freedom (banned punctuation)”.

    What they fail to realize is that they’re really saying “free-dumb”.

    The friend who works for the local health department and I are at the same point: the only way we’re going to get out of this is for all willingly unvaxxed over the age of 18 or 20 or 25 to die off.

    Harsh, we know, but we’re just sick and tired of bearing the consequences of the actions of willing idiots.


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