According to data compiled by the Centers For Disease Control, approximately one in every 5,000 vaccinated Americans has tested positive for the coronavirus. That number is probably much lower in places with significantly fewer cases — like the Northeast, Chicago, Los Angeles, and San Francisco areas, where it is probably fewer than one in 10,000.
This is the first detailed data about so-called “breakthrough” infections — positive tests from people fully vaccinated. The data suggests that politicians and public health officials are wildly overreacting to the delta variant’s effect on the already vaccinated.
My late wife spent the last two and half years of her life in a nursing home with a form of early onset dementia. While she was in her fifties, almost everyone else there was elderly. In each of the three winters she was in the home, the place was closed to visitors at some point because of flu. This added heartbreak to heartbreak, but it was entirely reasonable. Nearly three in four flu deaths in the last pre-pandemic season occurred among seniors. Someone aged 65 or more who contracted the flu had a chance of dying of it of about one in 120. (By contrast, while more than 85% of the breakthrough deaths are among those over 65, the COVID death rate for fully vaccinated seniors is one in about 25,000.)
That is to say that the risk of death from flu in a nursing home was almost a thousand times as large as the risk of death from COVID to the overall vaccinated population, and the risk of dying from the flu if you caught it as a senior was more than 200 times greater than the risk from COVID if you are currently disease-free, similarly aged and fully vaccinated.
There you have it — for this slice of time, the beginning of August 2021, Israel shows that the vaccines reduced risk 80%+, for all age groups.
Yes, if you just do an aggregation at the whole population level, it looks like a 67% reduction. That’s the “magic” of Simpson’s Paradox. For any given age group, the percentage reduction is much larger. But due to the relative risks by age, even with such high reductions, the overall population result shows a smaller improvement.
Takeaway: COVID vaccines greatly reduce risk
This is the main takeaway: the COVID vaccines greatly reduce the risk of adverse outcomes.
By the way, this is also true of the annual flu vaccines, which range in efficacy based on how well the vaccine that year matches up with the strains circulating, and which strains are circulating (some strains, even if you formulated the vaccine perfectly, still infect.) I could give you flu/pneumonia death rates by age groups, and you would see that flu/pneumonia is a big killer of the elderly. Get your flu vaccines, please.
But, we should also expect a lot of people hospitalized with COVID to be vaccinated old folks. Just because of the huge risk slope by age, which will still exist after vaccination.
when you’ve got really steep differences between subpopulations and the subpopulations are of very different sizes, the overall population average will be very different from simply looking at the average of the two populations.
– The base risk rates for each group are extremely different (3.9 per 100K for young, and 91.9 per 100K for old) – The percentage each subpopulation makes up in the larger population is very different (67% young, 33% old) – The vaccination rates are very different by population (76% young, 92% old)
The big picture: The Biden administration is ultimately trying to figure out how well-protected different demographics are against the virus, and for how long. From there, they can decide who should get booster shots.
But while the administration waits for more information, telling the public only that boosters aren’t necessary right now, drug companies and other countries are filling the data and communication void.
“Just think we live in a country which is incapable of telling us the percent vaccinated or unvaccinated who require hospitalization for covid. No less any more data about them. Or track breakthrough infections. Thanks @CDCgov,” tweeted Eric Topol, executive vice president of Scripps Research.
On Monday, July 19, the country is ditching all of its remaining pandemic-related restrictions. People will be able to go to nightclubs, or gather in groups as large as they like. They will not be legally compelled to wear masks at all, and can stop social distancing. The government, with an eye on media coverage, has dubbed it “Freedom Day,” and said the lifting of safety measures will be irreversible.
At the same time, coronavirus cases are rapidly rising in the UK. It recorded over 50,000 new cases on Friday, and its health minister says that the daily figure of new infections could climb to over 100,000 over the summer.
The UK’s vaccination program is still under way, but it has been broadly successful so far. In all, 68% of the adult population is fully vaccinated, and about 88% of adults have received their first dose (this includes the 68% who have had both doses). Just 6% of Brits are hesitant about getting a shot, according to the Office for National Statistics.
But the government seems to be betting that not all numbers are equally scary. It hopes that hospitalizations will stay low enough to stop the National Health Service from being completely overwhelmed. It is making the assumption that the link between cases and hospitalization rates has been weakened, if not broken.
“This wave is very different to previous ones,” says Oliver Geffen Obregon, an epidemiologist based in the UK, who has worked with the World Health Organization. “The proportion of hospitalization is way lower compared to similar points on the epidemic curve before the vaccination program.”
After falling short of its goal of administering at least one dose of the vaccine to 70 percent of adults by July 4th (it reached 67 percent) the White House is now turning its attention to the toughest populations in the country. That includes places like barber shops in Englewood, which are part of the “Shots at the Shops” effort by the White House. It’s also sending “surge teams” to some of the lowest vaccinated spots in the country, enlisting trusted messengers like church leaders to go door-to-door. And they’ll add mobile vaccination units at places like music festivals, sporting events or neighborhoods with low vaccination rates.
It’s all in an effort to target the stubbornly resistant, or hard-to-reach populations as fear grows that the virus could reemerge thanks to the highly contagious Delta variant.
Much of the coverage of those populations has focused on Trump supporters who have resisted vaccination as a matter of political identity. And data show that vaccination rates do tend to overlap with partisan leanings. But there are other hard-to-reach communities, including young people, Black and minority groups that traditionally vote Democratic.
ON JULY 4TH President Joe Biden stood on the White House lawn to declare that America was nearing independence from the coronavirus. But with covid-19 not fully “vanquished”, he called upon his fellow citizens to get vaccinated, telling them that “it’s the most patriotic thing you can do.” About 55% of Americans over the age of 12 have now been fully vaccinated, and a further 10% have had the first of two doses. But in recent weeks America’s vaccination rate has slowed markedly. In April 3m doses were administered each day; since June that figure has fallen to an average of 1m per day.
There are three possible explanations for this slow-down. The first is that it is typical for vaccination rates to fall as more people are jabbed, since those in cities and other easy-to-reach areas are likely to have been targeted already. Yet America does not appear to have reached such a threshold. Other rich countries, such as sparsely populated Canada, continued to vaccinate at a decent clip until about 75% of their populations had received their first dose (see left-hand chart). Germany, which has vaccinated a similar proportion of its citizens as America, is currently vaccinating at nearly three times the rate.
Lackluster vaccination uptake drove the Newsom administration to pursue the more personal approach that public health experts favor, but the still-nascent campaign leaves out large swaths of the state. The administration launched its “Get Out the Vax” campaign in April, enlisting 70 community-based organizations and 2,000 community canvassers, now focused on Los Angeles and Central Valley neighborhoods where vaccinations have plateaued or declined.
But county public health officials say the campaign isn’t big enough to combat the vaccine misinformation that has infiltrated regions such as California’s rural north.
In the United States, the number of cases and deaths that had been rising to a peak for almost a year have been flattening out, thanks, in large part, to COVID-19 vaccinations that began in December. As the weeks pass, more reports have been coming out about the effectiveness of the vaccines that are in use and the potential of those still in development. So, how do they differ?
It’s important to keep up, but it’s also a daunting task, given the flood of information (and misinformation) coming at us from so many directions.
Vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson are being administered in the U.S. right now, and others are on track to do the same.
We mapped out a comparison of the most prominent COVID-19 vaccines.
Author(s): Kathy Katella
Publication Date: 1 July 2021 (originally published February 2021, updated)
The Utah Department of Health reported 462 new cases of COVID-19, one new death and 7,412 new vaccinations administered in Utah Thursday.
It also released a new dataset for the first time that shows the number of “breakthrough” cases, hospitalizations and deaths for those who aren’t vaccinated account for a vast majority of recent trends. It also shows rate of new COVID-19 vaccinations is very slowly rising.
Utah’s rolling seven-day average for new positive cases in the state is now at 324, which is a slight increase from 312 Wednesday. The number of new cases is still well below any of the previous increases experienced since March 2020.