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

07162022_indiana covid deaths_vaccine shot_rebecca green wboi
Rebecca Green / WBOI
The Floyd County Health Department in Indiana is reporting low supply of the Moderna bivalent COVID-19 booster doses, but says they have plenty of Pfizer doses on hand until they get more from the state.

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.

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_.

John is News Editor for LPM. Email John at jboyle@lpm.org.