In Massachusetts, where close to 70 percent of residents are fully vaccinated, a scientific analysis published Friday shows that three-quarters of the people who have been infected by the delta variant were fully vaccinated.
The report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is strengthening the hypothesis that people who have received the vaccine can spread the more transmissible variant and may play a role in the summer surge of infections, Washington Post reported.
The U.S. has reported 628,772 covid deaths and 35,641,257 covid cases. That means more than 10 percent of the U.S. population of 333 million+ has had covid. An estimated 35,000 vaccinated people a week in the U.S. are having symptomatic breakthrough infections out of a vaccinated population of more than 162 million.
Based on the data in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, scientists reversed recommendations on mask-wearing and advised people who have received the vaccine to wear masks indoors in public.
The study found that vaccinated people in Massachusetts had as much virus in their noses as unvaccinated, and that the vaccinated could spread the virus to each other. The CDC was criticized this week for changing its mask guidance without citing unpublished data. Friday’s report contains that data.
“This finding is concerning and was a pivotal discovery leading to CDC’s updated mask recommendation,” CDC director Rochelle Walensky said in a statement. “The masking recommendation was updated to ensure the vaccinated public would not unknowingly transmit virus to others, including their unvaccinated or immunocompromised loved ones.”
On May 13, the CDC made sweeping changes in guidance for vaccinated Americans, saying it no longer recommended masks indoors or outdoors, including in crowds. CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky made the announcement at a White House briefing.
“We have all longed for this moment when we can get back to some sense of normalcy,” Walensky said
As recently as July 16, the CDC said that fully vaccinated people can resume activities without wearing masks unless required by other regulators.
On July 21, as delta variant-driven covid cases and hospitalizations skyrocketed, Dr. Jerome Adams, the former surgeon general during the Trump administration, tweeted, “The CDC messaging that vaccinated people can drop their masks “has just absolutely, unequivocally failed.”
On Tuesday, the CDC recommended that fully vaccinated Americans living in areas with high covid infection rates resume wearing face masks indoors. That includes about two-thirds of the U.S. population, according to a CNBC analysis.
An internal CDC document published Thursday by The Post said that the delta variant is as transmissible as chickenpox and likely to cause more severe infections. That document also shows the CDC believes it needs to stress the importance of vaccinations as the best way to stop the pandemic while acknowledging that breakthrough infections are more common than health officials previously said.
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health reported that 79 percent of vaccinated breakthrough infections were symptomatic, and four out of five people who were hospitalized were fully vaccinated.
The Massachusetts outbreak is thought to be a super spreader event, Washington Post reported. Provincetown, at the tip of Cape Cod, is famous for its party scene and had low levels of the virus on July 3. A big July 4 celebration helped spread the contagious delta variant. Infected people told public health officials that they had been in “densely packed indoor and outdoor events that included bars, restaurants, guest houses and rental homes.”
At least four other events triggered the outbreak, which cannot be blamed on one party or one bar.
Florida is the epicenter of transmissions, according to Dr. David Rubin, director of PolicyLab at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Texas, Missouri and Florida account for 40 percent of all U.S. cases in the country, federal health officials said.
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