This should not be an impetus to nihilism, though. It’s not the case that this demonstrates that vaccines are futile or not useful. Instead, it’s a reminder that the virus still poses a risk to the elderly, even when vaccinated, and therefore that the goal should be to tamp down on the spread of the virus broadly. If Powell had been at little risk of contracting the virus because transmission rates were low, he would have been at almost zero risk of dying from it. But, instead, his death comes at a time when more than 80,000 people a day are still contracting the virus and more than 1,500 people are dying from it — about as many people as were dying in early April 2020.