COVID death rates are plaguing a much younger generation in Steuben County


STEUBEN COUNTY (WETM) – The COVID positivity rate is down in Steuben County but death rates are still significantly high, and plaguing a much younger generation.

“It’s not good. the numbers are not good,” said Darlene Smith, Steuben County Public Health Director.

Over the course of the past three weeks, an average of four people per week has died from COVID in Steuben County. Over 50% of those deaths were people in their fifties, approximately 25 years under the U.S. life expectancy at about 77.3.

“For the past month, it’s [COVID deaths] almost double the amount of any other age groups that we have,” said Smith.

Health officials say, the reason COVID is taking its toll on this age group, specifically, surrounds the matter of vaccination. Dr. Michael Scalzone, Chief Quality Officer at Guthrie says, “We did a much better job vaccinating the older population.”

“Older individuals were in long-term care facilities, nursing homes…so they had a very different vaccination process where vaccinators went to those facilities to vaccinate people…it was very convenient,” said Dr. Scalzone.

Even further, vaccination in relation to cultural tendencies of a generation.

“That population, [the older generation] tends to be a population that is used to following medical advice…Adults nowadays are more questioning of medical information…and I think we see that in the age group of 18 to 55,” said Dr. Scalzone.

Recent positivity rates in Steuben County, have been down compared to last month, yet the death rate has increased. Dr. Scalzone explains why this phenomenon is a common COVID trend.

“Typically, death rates do lag by two to four weeks from the peak of any infection rate in the community.” Dr. Scalzone adds that the current increase in death rates, “Gives us some optimism that we are at the peak, and hopefully, as the infection rates slow down, so will the rates of serious illness.”

Last winter saw some of the highest death rates and hospitalizations in the county as well as the nation. But, as we are approaching this winter, health officials are optimistic.

“I am optimistic about this winter because last winter we didn’t have the vaccination yet,” said Smith.

Dr. Scalzone also says predictions and forecasts for this winter are looking up, “National forecast rates are looking at more of a flattening or decrease [in COVID cases] in the upcoming months, rather than another winter surge.”

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

If you have a news tip or a correction to the story you can email it to us through this link. If you would like to send a comment to the author of the story, you can find their email on our Meet the Team page.

Trending Now