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Indiana eclipses 23,000 COVID-19 deaths, expert says older vaccination uptake helped stem rate

A vaccine provider inoculates an older woman from COVID-19.
Rebecca Green
/
WBOI
Regenstrief's Brian Dixon said the continued trickle of deaths – despite slow increases in hospitalizations and cases – is largely because of vaccinations in older populations and the availability of therapeutics for people who become seriously ill.

More than 23,000 Hoosiers are now confirmed to have died from COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic.

The state took more than four months to reach its most recent grim milestone. Indiana’s total COVID-19 deaths is larger than the populations of 27 counties.

Despite slow increases in COVID-19 hospitalizations and new infections, the death rate has remained at a trickle. After peaking in January with an average of nearly 70 deaths per day, the state has averaged four deaths per day since April.

Brian Dixon is the interim director of the Regenstrief Institute’s Center for Biomedical Informatics.

“And that’s due to a number of things including strong vaccination in the population as well as therapeutics on the market,” Dixon said.

But lagging vaccination rates in younger populations have also increased their share of deaths. Since the start of 2022, Hoosiers younger than 50 account for nearly 7 percent of deaths, compared to 5 percent for the previous two years.

Dixon said Hoosiers should anticipate an increase in new cases heading into the fall, as colder weather and the start of the school year bring people back inside. But he said because of the COVID-19 omicron variants moving through the U.S., he expects an increase in reinfections.

READ MORE: Expert says anticipate increased COVID-19 cases, reinfections in fall

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State health officials say there are an additional 984 suspected COVID-19 deaths – where a test wasn’t administered but health care professionals believe the person had the virus.

To find a vaccine site near you for boosters, initial doses or pediatric doses, visit OurShot.IN.gov or call 211.

Contact Lauren at lchapman@wfyi.org or follow her on Twitter at @laurenechapman_.

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Lauren is the digital editor for our statewide collaboration, and is based in Indianapolis at WFYI. Since starting for IPB News in 2016, she's covered everything from protests and COVID-19 to esports and policy. She's a proud Ball State University alumna and grew up on the west side of Indianapolis.