Dr. Jonathan Reiner, CNN medical analyst and professor of medicine and surgery at George Washington University, said Colin Powell represented the "most vulnerable population" in America.
“General Powell represented our most vulnerable population in this country. He was over the age of 80, he had cancer, and a treatment for his cancer made him vulnerable," Reiner told CNN's Newsroom with Jim Sciutto and Erica Hill.
Powell's family announced his death on Facebook saying he died from complications from Covid-19. He was 84 and had been vaccinated. A source familiar with the matter later told CNN he had multiple myeloma – a cancer of plasma cells that suppresses the body’s immune response.
Reiner said Powell's death emphasized the need for all Americans to get vaccinated, to "protect our treasures" like Powell.
"So, when we try and convince young people who feel that they are low risk from the virus itself why they need to be vaccinated, it’s to protect our treasures, our people like general Powell, our grandparents, because while, you know, a 25-year-old may do quite well with the infection, if they spread it to someone like General Powell, they will not. That is the imperative for vaccination in this country," Reiner said.
Remember: For fully vaccinated Americans, the risk of being hospitalized or dying from Covid-19 is low – much lower than the risk for unvaccinated people. But in those rare cases when a fully vaccinated person gets infected, data suggests it is older adults and those with multiple underlying medical conditions who are most at risk of serious illness.