Colorado surpasses 10,000 COVID deaths

Hart Van Denburg/CPR News
Signs promoting coronavirus public safety and COVID-19 vaccinations outside the Mesa County Public Health offices on Thursday, August 26, 2021.

Colorado hit a grim pandemic milestone Tuesday, surpassing 10,000 deaths from the coronavirus. 

According to the state's dashboard, 10,018 people have now died due to COVID-19. Colorado reached that threshold on the one-year anniversary of Pfizer vaccines first arriving in the state.

Forty-five percent of those deaths occurred in people older than 80. Nearly 85 percent of deaths occurred in those older than 60, even though that group makes up just 21 percent of the population.

Men represent about 55 percent of deaths in Colorado, compared with about 44 percent for women. The percent of deaths by racial and ethnic group closely tracks with their respective share of the population.

Since the end of September, more than 2,100 Coloradans have died of COVID-19. At one point, the brutal fall wave saw transmissions, cases, hospitalizations and deaths all rise, putting patients and health providers under intense pressure.

The fall surge has been the state's second deadliest. More than 200 people died per week of COVID-19 for six straight weeks in October and November. In Colorado’s deadliest wave, a year ago, the state recorded eight consecutive weeks of 200 or more coronavirus deaths, including four straight weeks with 350 deaths or more. 

That wave set records and saw 464 people die of COVID-19 in the week ending Nov. 29, 2020. And 80 people died from the virus on Dec. 9, 2020, the state’s single deadliest day, according to the state’s dashboard.

Thankfully, the numbers this year have moderated since Thanksgiving week. Gov. Jared Polis credits the abatement to the vaccine.

“The virus and deadly delta variant continues to infect the unvaccinated but we have the tool to protect ourselves in the life-saving vaccine and now the booster,” said Polis in a statement. “The vaccine is the marvel of science we can all use to get back to the Colorado we love and deserve. The science on the vaccine is settled and it’s saving lives, and I encourage everyone to be responsible and get theirs so we can return to normal.”

Nationally, COVID-19 has now killed more than 800,000 people in the U.S. That news came just two years after the first cluster of cases was reported in Wuhan, China.

The state issued a press release Tuesday noting 4 million Coloradans have gotten vaccinated, with more than 9 million doses given, since the first vaccine delivery a year ago.

“Vaccines are a scientific miracle and changed the pandemic,” said Scott Bookman, COVID-19 incident commander, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), in the statement. “The vaccine has saved countless lives, particularly among our most at risk, and has allowed us to return to a more normal way of life.”

The administration released the following details about Colorado vaccinations over the last 12 months:

  • 76 percent of Coloradans age 5 and older vaccinated with one dose of COVID-19 vaccine (4,142,280 people).
  • 69 percent of Coloradans age 5 and older now fully vaccinated against COVID-19 (3,739,632 people).
  • 26 percent of children age 5-11 in Colorado vaccinated with one dose of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine (119,738 people).
  • 64 percent of children age 12-17 in Colorado vaccinated with one dose of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine (284,659 people).
  • 1.2 million eligible Coloradans have received a booster dose (43.5 percent of those fully vaccinated).