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Colorado's $1M Vaccination Drawings Not Causing Big Spike Yet

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, center, during a mid-May visit to a vaccination site.EXPAND
Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, center, during a mid-May visit to a vaccination site.
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The latest data about COVID-19 from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment avoids worst-case scenarios. More than two weeks after the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention loosened masking and physical distancing recommendations related to the novel coronavirus, most of the state's numbers related to cases, hospitalizations and the like are holding steady or have declined modestly.

But the news related to vaccinations doesn't deserve any celebrations. Overall immunization stats aren't showing the sort of bump that officials had hoped would follow the announcement of drawings beginning this week and continuing into early July that will give $1 million a piece to five individuals who've been inoculated — and the latest daily totals are far worse than those from a week earlier.

Here are the most recent COVID-19 stats from the CDPHE, refreshed after 4 p.m. on May 31, juxtaposed with information from May 22, highlighted in our last roundup:

543,174 cases (up 5,773 from May 22)
8,953 variants of concern (up 619 from May 22)
686 variants under investigation (up 42 from May 22)
30,198 hospitalized (up 408 from May 22)
64 counties (unchanged from May 22)
6,580 deaths among cases (up 75 from May 22)
6,718 deaths due to COVID-19 (up 86 from May 22)
5,406 outbreaks (up 62 from May 22)

Four major takeaways:

• New hospitalizations dipped from 547 in the week before May 22 to 408 in the subsequent nine days — a substantial improvement.

• The rate of newly identified COVID-19 outbreaks is following the same trajectory. The total climbed by 101 during the seven days prior to May 22, but just 62 more have been reported since then.

• Too bad there hasn't been similar progress in association with the most important figure: deaths attributed to COVID-19. Seventy people died from the disease between May 16 and May 22 in Colorado, while 86 passed away from this cause in the nine days leading up to May 31.

• New COVID-19 cases didn't jump over the past week-plus, but neither did they tumble. Although the 5,773 cited in the preceding nine days is better than the 5,701 increase over the seven leading up to May 31, the difference is slight.

Here's the breakdown on new cases reported over the most recent ten-day period available. Only one day exceeded 1,000, and just 248 new infections were counted on May 30 — a probable benefit of the Memorial Day weekend.

May 30 — 248 Cases
May 29 — 412 Cases
May 28 — 502 Cases
May 27 — 654 Cases
May 26 — 727 Cases
May 25 — 696 Cases
May 24 — 1,313 Cases
May 23 — 376 Cases
May 22 — 552 Cases
May 21 — 780 Cases

The state's positivity rate of 3.51 percent on May 31 is higher than the 3.02 percent registered on May 23, but still well below the 5 percent threshold established by health department officials. Moreover, variants — which, according to the CDPHE, "spread easier, cause more severe disease, reduce the effectiveness of treatments or vaccine, or [are] harder to detect using current tests" — are escalating at slower laggard pace. The increase of 619 variants of concern over the nine days before May 31 is less than half of the 1,271 calculated in the May 16-22 time frame.

And then there are the hospitalization stats. The seven-day average of patients admitted to the hospital was 57 on May 31, down from 69 on May 23, and the total number of people hospitalized for COVID-19 in the state was closer to 500 in recent days; a week earlier, it had been in the 600-patient range. Here are the specifics:

New Hospital Admissions by Admission Date

May 31, 2021
35 patients admitted to the hospital
57 seven-day average of patients admitted to the hospital

May 30, 2021
69 patients admitted to the hospital
62 seven-day average of patients admitted to the hospital

May 29, 2021
49 patients admitted to the hospital
62 seven-day average of patients admitted to the hospital

May 28, 2021
21 patients admitted to the hospital
65 seven-day average of patients admitted to the hospital

May 27, 2021
56 patients admitted to the hospital
78 seven-day average of patients admitted to the hospital

May 26, 2021
83 patients admitted to the hospital
82 seven-day average of patients admitted to the hospital

May 25, 2021
84 patients admitted to the hospital
80 seven-day average of patients admitted to the hospital

May 24, 2021
69 patients admitted to the hospital
84 seven-day average of patients admitted to the hospital

May 23, 2021
75 patients admitted to the hospital
83 seven-day average of patients admitted to the hospital

May 22, 2021
70 patients admitted to the hospital
77 seven-day average of patients admitted to the hospital

May 21, 2021
112 patients admitted to the hospital
79 seven-day average of patients admitted to the hospital

Patients Currently Hospitalized for COVID-19

May 31, 2021
506 Total COVID Patients (Confirmed & Suspected/PUI)
469 (93 percent) Confirmed COVID-19
37 (7 percent) Persons Under Investigation

May 30, 2021
517 Total COVID Patients (Confirmed & Suspected/PUI)
471 (91 percent) Confirmed COVID-19
46 (9 percent) Persons Under Investigation

May 29, 2021
509 Total COVID Patients (Confirmed & Suspected/PUI)
462 (91 percent) Confirmed COVID-19
47 (9 percent) Persons Under Investigation

May 28, 2021
493 Total COVID Patients (Confirmed & Suspected/PUI)
453 (92 percent) Confirmed COVID-19
40 (8 percent) Persons Under Investigation

May 27, 2021
546 Total COVID Patients (Confirmed & Suspected/PUI)
508 (93 percent) Confirmed COVID-19
38 (7 percent Persons Under Investigation

May 26, 2021
601 Total COVID Patients (Confirmed & Suspected/PUI)
528 (88 percent) Confirmed COVID-19
73 (12 percent) Persons Under Investigation

May 25, 2021
552 Total COVID Patients (Confirmed & Suspected/PUI)
509 (92 percent) Confirmed COVID-19
43 (8 percent) Persons Under Investigation

May 24, 2021
556 Total COVID Patients (Confirmed & Suspected/PUI)
511 (92 percent) Confirmed COVID-19
45 (8 percent) Persons Under Investigation

May 23, 2021
573 Total COVID Patients (Confirmed & Suspected/PUI)
516 (90 percent) Confirmed COVID-19
57 (10 percent) Persons Under Investigation

May 22, 2021
576 Total COVID Patients (Confirmed & Suspected/PUI)
525 (91 percent) Confirmed COVID-19
51 (9 percent) Persons Under Investigation

The metrics found on the CDPHE's vaccine data dashboard are less inspirational, even if they look fairly strong out of context. As of May 31:

2,581,586 people fully immunized (up 134,193 from May 22)
3,022,501 people immunized with one dose (up 90,014 from May 22)
1,863 people vaccinated on May 30 with Pfizer vaccine (down 8,190); 5,322 immunizations with Pfizer vaccine reported May 30 but administered on an earlier date
835 people immunized on May 30 with Moderna vaccine (down 2,897); 2,530 immunizations with Moderna vaccine reported May 30 but administered on an earlier date
164 people vaccinated on May 30 with Janssen vaccine (down 521); 594 immunizations with Janssen vaccine reported May 30 but administered on an earlier date

The 134,193 additional people fully immunized in the nine days between May 22 and May 31 represent almost the same pace as the seven days from May 15 to May 22, when 103,474 people achieved that status. Moreover, the 90,014 bump of folks inoculated with at least one dose from May 22 to May 31 is actually lower than the 119,532 counted in two fewer days, May 15 to May 22. And the May 30 numbers are way down compared to those on May 22 for Pfizer (1,863 versus 9,310), Moderna (835 versus 5,093) and Janssen, aka Johnson & Johnson (164 versus 243).

Memorial Day weekend could have been a factor — and it doesn't look like excitement over the Colorado Comeback Cash drawing announcement mid-week was much of a compensation prize.

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