COLUMBUS (WCMH) — When the COVID-19 pandemic began in 2020, older people, especially those in nursing homes, seemed to be getting the sickest from the virus. Nursing homes in Columbus were among the first in Ohio to receive the vaccine once it was available.
Now, the tables have turned due to the delta variant.
At a Thursday morning press conference, health officials said the people displaying the most severe COVID-19 symptoms, including death, are now young, obese, and unvaccinated.
Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, the new director of the Ohio Department of Health, said 99% of those dying from the virus are unvaccinated. He said genomic sequencing has allowed scientists to confirm that the deaths and hospitalizations are due to the delta variant, which is making people “sicker, quicker.”
On Wednesday, ODH reported a summer high of 3,393 cases with over 50% of the state having, at least, begun the vaccination process.
Dr. Vanderhoff said other states are now eliminating elective medical procedures due to high COVID rates.
“We don’t want to see our hospitals here in Ohio facing such measures,” he said, as he encouraged all Ohioans to get the shots.
Dr. Vanderhoff reiterated the safety of the vaccines, saying the drugs have met stringent safety protocols.
“There were numerous layers of safety systems,” Dr. Vanderhoff said. “The vaccines were developed quickly, but corners weren’t cut with questions about safety; the red tape was cut.”
Dr. Vanderhoff said vaccines are the best protection against this virus and that’s he’s encouraged by a recent upward trend among those starting the vaccination process each day.
“No medicine is without risks of side effects,” Dr. Vanderhoff said, “but many people don’t have side effects at all. If they do, they tend to be mild and short in duration. Compare that with the long-term effects of COVID-19.”