KEY POINTS

  • 10 fully vaccinated people in Illinois died of COVID-19 last week
  • 51 fully vaccinated individuals were hospitalized
  • The Delta variant spreads 225% faster than the original strain

More than 160 fully vaccinated people in Illinois have died of COVID-19, state health officials said. 

The Illinois Department of Public Health updated its data Wednesday, showing that 169 people in Illinois died after being infected with COVID-19 despite being fully vaccinated. The number of deaths accounts for 2.44% of all coronavirus-related deaths recorded since Jan.1. 

A person is considered “fully vaccinated” two weeks after receiving the second dose of vaccines developed by Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna, or two weeks after receiving one dose of Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine. 

The data also showed 644 fully vaccinated people in the state have been hospitalized for COVID-19, according to the IDPH, as reported by NBC Chicago.

Of the 169 deaths, 10 individuals died in the past week. At least 51 people have also been hospitalized in the past week since the state last updated its numbers. 

Illinois does not report the number of people who were diagnosed with COVID-19 after being fully vaccinated but did not die or require hospitalization, following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

Despite the figures, IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike continues to urge state residents to get vaccinated, noting that the benefits still outweigh the risk of getting infected. 

"You know, everyone has heard of a case or two of someone who had a breakthrough infection or breakthrough hospitalization, but it is, that is so far the unicorn, that you need to focus on the people who are not vaccinated, they're the ones filling up the hospital as COVID patients,” he said. 

A study published on Virological this month found that the more contagious Delta variant spreads 225% faster than the original strain of the novel coronavirus. People infected with this variant also had 1,000 times more copies of the COVID-19 in their respiratory tracts.

Researchers at the Guangdong Provincial Center for Disease Control and Prevention also found that people who are infected with the Delta variant are more likely to spread the virus earlier in the course of their infection. 

With the original strain, it took six days for the virus to reach detectable levels inside a patient. With the Delta variant, it only takes an average of four days. 

Pfizer raised its 2021 forecasts based on surging demand for Covid-19 vaccines Pfizer raised its 2021 forecasts based on surging demand for Covid-19 vaccines Photo: AFP / JAVIER TORRES