Indianapolis Star, December 2020
As of December 29, a record-setting 2,002 Hoosiers already have died in December of COVID-19, capping off a deadly year when more than 8,000 Indiana residents have died of the virus.
The December death toll is the highest of 2020 and seven times as many as July, the lowest point in the pandemic in terms of deaths.The number is expected to grow in the coming week as complete data for the month becomes available.
High community spread has put the virus in contact with more vulnerable Hoosiers, driving up deaths, said Dr. Peter Embí, president and CEO of the Regenstrief Institute.
During the first wave in the spring, many of the people contracting the disease were older and therefore more susceptible to becoming severely ill, he said. That trend reversed during the summer, and the number of deaths decreased. It flipped again this fall.
“Inevitably, when more and more people get infected, it starts to spread to other parts of the population,” Embí said, “so now so we’re starting to see numbers, for instance, in nursing home populations and in the elderly, that look a lot more similar to what we saw back at the beginning. And I think that’s the major driver of deaths.”