Study: Vaccinated people can carry as much virus as others

Three quarters of those infected in Provincetown were fully vaccinated!  We can show no symptoms while passing it on to children and medically compromised individuals.

Masking again? Photo AFP
Associated Press, by Lindsey Tanner, Mike Stobbe and Philip Marcelo, July 30, 2021

In another dispiriting setback for the nation’s efforts to stamp out the coronavirus, scientists who studied a big COVID-19 outbreak in Massachusetts concluded that vaccinated people who got so-called breakthrough infections carried about the same amount of the coronavirus as those who did not get the shots.

Health officials on Friday released details of that research, which was key in this week’s decision by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to recommend that vaccinated people return to wearing masks indoors in parts of the U.S. where the delta variant is fueling infection surges. The authors said the findings suggest that the CDC’s mask guidance should be expanded to include the entire country, even outside of hot spots.

The findings have the potential to upend past thinking about how the disease is spread. Previously, vaccinated people who got infected were thought to have low levels of virus and to be unlikely to pass it to others. But the new data shows that is not the case with the delta variant.

The outbreak in Provincetown — a seaside tourist spot on Cape Cod in the county with Massachusetts’ highest vaccination rate — has so far included more than 900 cases. About three-quarters of them were people who were fully vaccinated.

Travis Dagenais, who was among the many vaccinated people infected, said “throwing caution to the wind” and partying in crowds for long nights over the July Fourth holiday was a mistake in hindsight.

“The dominant public messaging has been that the vaccine means a return to normal,” the 35-year-old Boston resident said Thursday. “Unfortunately, I’ve now learned it’s a few steps toward normal, not the zero-to-sixty that we seem to have undertaken.”

Dagenais credits being vaccinated with easing the worst of the flu-like symptoms in a couple of days. He has recovered.

Like many states, Massachusetts lifted all COVID-19 restrictions in late May, ahead of the traditional Memorial Day start of the summer season. Provincetown this week reinstated an indoor mask requirement for everyone.

Leaked internal documents on breakthrough infections and the delta variant suggest the CDC may be considering other changes in advice on how the nation fights the coronavirus, such as recommending masks for everyone and requiring vaccines for doctors and other health workers.

The delta variant, first detected in India, causes infections that are more contagious than the common cold, flu, smallpox and the Ebola virus, and it is as infectious as chickenpox, according to the documents, which mentioned the Provincetown cases.

The documents were obtained by The Washington Post. As they note, COVID-19 vaccines are still highly effective against the delta variant at preventing serious illness and death.

The Provincetown outbreak and the documents highlight the enormous challenge the CDC faces in encouraging vaccination while acknowledging that breakthrough cases can occur and can be contagious but are uncommon.

The documents appear to be talking points for CDC staff to use with the public. One point advised: “Acknowledge the war has changed,” an apparent reference to deepening concern that many millions of vaccinated people could be a source of wide-ranging spread.

An agency spokeswoman declined to comment on the documents.

The White House on Friday defended its approach to rising virus cases and shifting public health guidelines, repeatedly deferred to the CDC while stressing the need for vaccinations.

“The most important takeaway is actually pretty simple. We need more people to get vaccinated,” White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre said.

Pressed about the changing guidance, Jean-Pierre repeatedly said, “We don’t make those types of decisions from here.”

People with breakthrough infections make up an increasing portion of hospitalizations and in-hospital deaths among COVID-19 patients, coinciding with the spread of the delta variant, according to the leaked documents.

Although experts generally agreed with the CDC’s revised indoor masking stance, some said the report on the Provincetown outbreak does not prove that vaccinated people are a significant source of new infections.

“There’s scientific plausibility for the (CDC) recommendation. But it’s not derived from this study,” said Jennifer Nuzzo, a Johns Hopkins University public health researcher.

The CDC report is based on about 470 COVID-19 cases linked to the Provincetown festivities, which included densely packed indoor and outdoor holiday events at bars, restaurants, guest houses and rental homes.

Researchers ran tests on a portion of them and found roughly the same level of virus in those who were fully vaccinated and those who were not.

Three-quarters of the infections were in fully vaccinated individuals. Among those fully vaccinated, about 80% experienced symptoms with the most common being cough, headache, sore throat, muscle aches and fever.

Dagenais said he started to feel ill the evening he returned home and initially chalked it up to long nights of partying in packed Provincetown nightclubs.

But as the days wore on and the fever, chills, muscle aches and fatigue set in, he knew it was something more.

In the report, the measure researchers used to assess how much virus an infected person is carrying does not indicate whether they are actually transmitting the virus to other people, said Dr. Angela Rasmussen, a virologist at the University of Saskatchewan.

CDC officials say more data is coming. They are tracking breakthrough cases as part of much larger studies that involve following tens of thousands of vaccinated and unvaccinated people across the country over time.

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The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

Game-changing news for Benicia, Vallejo, Fairfield, Suisun City, Vacaville, Rio Vista and Dixon

By Roger Straw, Friday, July 30, 2021

Friday, July 30 in Solano County: 301 new COVID infections in last 2 days, % of ICU beds available drops into yellow danger zone, test positivity edges closer to 20%.  [Also… important breaking news on high transmission rates among the vaccinated.]

Solano County COVID dashboard SUMMARY:
[Sources: see below.  See also my ARCHIVE spreadsheet of daily Solano COVID updates.]
Deaths

No new deaths reported today.  The Fairfield Daily Republic reports that 3 of the 4 new deaths Solano disclosed yesterday “date back to 2020, and the other from February.”   The four deaths “were discovered as part of a systematic review of known Covid cases to determine outcomes and death certificates, and a follow-up review of medical records.  Two of the deaths were men between 50 and 65; the others were a man and a woman, each older than 65.”  The County total remains 249 COVID deaths since the pandemic began.

TREND: Cases-per-day dramatically up in July

Solano County is clearly experiencing a dramatic “summer surge” in cases.  The County reported  301 new COVID cases since Wednesday, 150 per day!  Cases-per-day were trending downward in recent months, but are now rising rapidly, especially over the last week:

Solano’s 972 ACTIVE cases is up again from Wednesday’s remarkable high of 831, higher than anything since February 5, 2021.  Active cases have risen alarmingly in July, up from 212 cases on July 2 to today’s 972.

Solano Positive Test Rate INCREDIBLY HIGH – much higher than US & CA!

Our 7-day average percent positivity rate was up again today from a shocking 16.8% on Monday to an even more surprising 19.3% today, the County’s highest rate since January 25, 2021.  We would be decidedly back in the PURPLE TIER with rates this high.  COMPARE: The US 7-day % positive rate today is at 7.3%, and the California rate is 4.7%. [Source: Johns Hopkins]  This thing is on fire here – watch out and take care!

Hospitalizations – County provides MAJOR update of previously unreported hospitalizations

CURRENT hospitalizations today remained at 51 persons

ICU Beds took a dramatic turn today, falling from 32% to 27%, now in the County’s yellow danger zone, the first time since March 5, 2021.  Ventilators available today rose from 68 to 73, about the only good news for the day.

TOTAL Hospitalized The County’s Monday-Friday updates show an intake/discharge total of CURRENTLY hospitalized cases, but never report on the TOTAL hospitalized over the course of the pandemic.  That total must be independently discovered in the County’s occasional update of the Hospitalizations by Age Group chart.  The County performed a MAJOR UPDATE of the Hospitalizations by Age Group chart yesterday, adding 710 previously unreported hospitalizations!  We assume this was a long overdue review of earlier hospitalizations, but we have no independent confirmation.  Yesterday’s additions:

    • 9 more children age 0-17 who were hospitalized with COVID since the County’s end-of-June update;
    • 253 additional young adults age 18-49;
    • another 200 aged 50-64;
    • and 248 more of our elders 65 and older.

The Age Group chart now shows a total of 2,018 persons hospitalized since the beginning of the outbreak, in the following age groups:

Age Group Hospitalizations % of Total
0-17 36 2%
18-49 580 29%
50-64 542 27%
65+ 860 43%
TOTAL 2,018 100%

Hospitalizations are also recorded on the County’s demographic chart labeled “Hospitalizations by Race / Ethnicity.”  The chart was updated today, adding 138 Asians, 127 Blacks, 221 Hispanics, 208 Whites, and subtracting 3 from the Multirace group.  Here are the current numbers.  Interestingly, the total doesn’t square with totals by age groups.

Race / Ethnicity Hospitalizations % of Total
Asians 321 17% (up 2%)
Black / African American 327 17% (up 1%)
Hispanic / Latinx 548 29% (up 2%)
White 614 32%  (down 2%)
Multirace / Others 83 4% (down 3%)
TOTAL 1,893 100%
New State Guidelines…

COVID is clearly spreading again and surging in Solano County!  Today California also issued new Guidance for the Use of Face Coverings.  The new guidelines include a recommendation for universal masking indoors statewide, adding of Adult and Senior Care Facilities to settings where all individuals must wear masks indoors, and a reference to new requirements for unvaccinated workers.  Some California counties are returning to mandatory masks for all in crowded places.  In the Bay Area, Solano County is the only holdout against even RECOMMENDING masks in public indoors spaces.  Dr. Matyas needs to make some difficult decisions soon!

BREAKING NEWS FROM PROVINCETOWN MASSACHUSSETTS  – And about wearing masks again, Social Distancing & Vaccination…

We heard seriously shocking news today about the large number of FULLY VACCINATED persons who are catching the virus and actively transmitting it.  As the Washington Post reports, “A sobering scientific analysis published Friday found that three-quarters of the people infected during an explosive coronavirus outbreak fueled by the delta variant were fully vaccinated. The report on the Massachusetts cases, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, offers key evidence bolstering the hypothesis that vaccinated people can spread the more transmissible variant and may be a factor in the summer surge of infections.” 

This is HUGE news to me!  We were just beginning to associate more freely with fully vaccinated friends and family, and now I am to understand that some among us may be asymptomatic and unknowingly transmitting the virus amongst us, and inevitably helping spread the disease to someone who knows someone, who knows someone else, who knows yet another someone who is not vaccinated, or who is too young or too health-compromised to be vaccinated – and who may end up seriously ill or even dead!

My personal plan is to mask indoors in public now, and we’re even wondering if we should mask indoors with vaccinated family and friends!  Sheeesh, I thought we were done with that!  Everyone PLEASE talk to anyone you know who isn’t vaccinated.  This thing ain’t over yet!

Cases by City on Friday, July 30:
  • Benicia added 8 new cases today, a total of 1,110 cases since the outbreak began, 4.0% of its population of 27,570.
  • Dixon added 12 new case today, total of 2,019 cases, 10.2% of its population of 19,794.
  • Fairfield added 102 new cases today, total of 9,729 cases, 8.3% of its population of 117,149.
  • Rio Vista added 5 new cases today, total of 429 cases, 4.6% of its population of 9,416.
  • Suisun City added 20 new cases today, total of 2,532 cases, 8.6% of its population of 29,447.
  • Vacaville added 63 new cases today, a total of 9,452 cases, 9.6% its of population of 98,807.
  • Vallejo added 90 new cases today, a total of 10,623 cases, 8.9% of its population of 119,544.
  • Unincorporated added 1 new case today, a total of 110 cases (population figures not available).

COMPARE: From the most recent report on Solano County’s COVID Dashboard, Wednesday, July 28:


The data on this page is from today’s and the previous Solano County COVID-19 Dashboard.  The Dashboard is full of much more information and updated weekdays around 4 or 5pm.  On the County’s dashboard, you can hover a mouse or click on an item for more information.  Note the tabs at top for “SummaryDemographics” and “Vaccines.”  Click here to go to today’s Solano County Dashboard.


Sources

Solano County Public Health issues new mask mandates

By Roger Straw, July 29, 2021

Masks now REQUIRED for many indoor settings, regardless of vaccination status

https://www.facebook.com/SolanoCountyPH/

Solano County Public Health updated its Facebook page today in accordance with new guidance on masking issued yesterday by the California Public Health Department.

Solano Public Health on Facebook

The County’s message on Facebook, along with the image you see above is:

In accordance with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), as of July 28th masks are required in the following indoor settings, regardless of vaccination status.

For more information on masking requirements, please visit: https://www.cdph.ca.gov/…/guidance-for-face-coverings.aspx

Solano County website – details…

The County’s Coronavirus Updates and Resources page has also been updated – in great detail, but without the clarity and emphasis displayed on its Facebook page.

If you scroll halfway down the page, you will find the following updated and detailed information.  You will also notice that the messaging avoids taking responsibility at the County level for the new requirements, passing the mandate off on the State.

Face Covering

All Californians will continue to follow State masking guidelines:

Masks are required for all individuals in the following indoor settings, regardless of vaccination status:

    • On public transit[1] (examples: airplanes, ships, ferries, trains, subways, buses, taxis, and ride-shares) and in transportation hubs (examples: airport, bus terminal, marina, train station, seaport or other port, subway station, or any other area that provides transportation)
    • Indoors in K-12 schools[2]childcare[3]
    • Emergency shelters[4] and cooling centers[5]Masks are required for all individuals, in the following indoor settings, regardless of vaccination status (and surgical masks are recommended):
      • Healthcare settings[6]
      • State and local correctional facilities and detention centers[7]
      • Homeless shelters[8]
      • Long Term Care Settings[9] & Adult and Senior Care Facilities[10]
      • Additionally, masks are required* for unvaccinated individuals in indoor public settings and businesses (examples: retail, restaurants, theaters, family entertainment centers, meetings, state and local government offices serving the public).

4.      Exemptions:
The following specific settings are exempt from face covering requirements:

    • Persons in a car alone or solely with members of their own household,
    • Persons who are working alone in a closed office or room,
    • Persons who are obtaining a medical or cosmetic service involving the nose or face for which temporary removal of the face covering is necessary to perform the service,
    • Workers who wear respiratory protection, or
    • Persons who are specifically exempted from wearing face coverings by other CDPH guidance.

·     The following individuals are exempt from wearing face coverings at all times:

    • Persons younger than two years old. Very young children must not wear a face covering because of the risk of suffocation.
    • Persons with a medical condition, mental health condition, or disability that prevents wearing a face covering. This includes persons with a medical condition for whom wearing a face covering could obstruct breathing or who are unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove a face covering without assistance.*
    • Persons who are hearing impaired, or communicating with a person who is hearing impaired, where the ability to see the mouth is essential for communication.
    • Persons for whom wearing a face covering would create a risk to the person related to their work, as determined by local, state, or federal regulators or workplace safety guidelines.

*Note: Persons exempted from wearing a face covering due to a medical condition who are employed in a job involving regular contact with others must wear a non-restrictive alternative, such as a face shield with a drape on the bottom edge, as long as their condition permits it.

Related Materials: Face Coverings Fact sheet (PDF) | Face Mask Tips and Resources | Face Shields Q&A (PDF) | All Guidance | More Languages

Solano County reports shocking new numbers on Wednesday July 28


By Roger Straw, Wednesday, July 28, 2021

County reports 4 deaths and 710 new hospitalizations!  Test positivity nears 20%.

Solano County COVID dashboard SUMMARY:
[Sources: see below.  See also my ARCHIVE spreadsheet of daily Solano COVID updates.]
Deaths

Solano reported four new deaths today, two age 50-64 and two 65+.  June deaths were only 2, and prior to today only 1 death was reported in July, so this is a dramatic turn.  The County total is now 249 deaths since the pandemic began.

TREND: Cases-per-day dramatically up in July

Solano County is clearly experiencing a “summer surge” in cases.  The County reported  221 new COVID cases since Monday, 110 per day!  Cases-per-day were trending downward in recent months, but are now rising rapidly, especially over the last week:

Solano’s 831 ACTIVE cases is up dramatically from last Friday’s remarkable high of 647, higher than anything since February 11, 2021.  Active cases have risen alarmingly in July, up from 212 cases on July 2 to today’s 831.

Solano Positive Test Rate INCREDIBLY HIGH – much higher than US & CA!

Our 7-day average percent positivity rate was up alarmingly again today from a shocking 16.8% on Monday to an even more surprising 19.1% today, the County’s highest rate since January 25, 2021.  We would be decidedly back in the PURPLE TIER with rates this high.  COMPARE: The US 7-day % positive rate today is at 5.9%, and the California rate is 4.4%. [Source: Johns Hopkins]  This thing is on fire here – watch out and take care!

Hospitalizations – County provides MAJOR update of previously unreported hospitalizations

CURRENT hospitalizations jumped today from 45 to 51 persons.   ICU beds and ventilators remained about the same today, beds at 32% and ventilators at 68.

TOTAL hospitalized The County’s Monday-Friday updates show an intake/discharge total of CURRENTLY hospitalized cases, but never report on the CUMULATIVE TOTAL of hospitalized COVID patients over the course of the pandemic.  That total must be independently discovered in the County’s occasional update of the Hospitalizations by Age Group chart.  The County performed a MAJOR UPDATE of the Hospitalizations by Age Group chart today, adding 710 previously unreported hospitalizations!  We now know of

    • 9 more children age 0-17 who were hospitalized with COVID since the County’s end-of-June update;
    • 253 additional young adults age 18-49;
    • another 200 aged 50-64;
    • and 248 more of our elders 65 and older.

No telling exactly WHEN these newly reported hospitalizations occurred – probably not all in July.  The Age Group chart now shows a total of 2,019 persons hospitalized since the beginning of the outbreak, in the following age groups:

Age Group Hospitalizations % of Total
0-17 36 2%
18-49 580 29%
50-64 542 27%
65+ 861 43%
TOTAL 2,019 100%

Hospitalizations are also recorded on the County’s demographic chart labeled “Hospitalizations by Race / Ethnicity.”  The chart was updated today, adding 138 Asians, 127 Blacks, 221 Hispanics, 208 Whites, and subtracting 3 from the Multirace group.  Here are the current numbers.  Interestingly, the total doesn’t square with totals by age groups.

Race / Ethnicity Hospitalizations % of Total
Asians 322 17% (up 2%)
Black / African American 327 17% (up 1%)
Hispanic / Latinx 548 29% (up 2%)
White 614 32%  (down 2%)
Multirace / Others 83 4% (down 3%)
TOTAL 1,894 100%
New State Guidelines…

COVID is clearly spreading again and surging in Solano County!  Today California also issued new Guidance for the Use of Face Coverings.  The new guidelines include a recommendation for universal masking indoors statewide, adding of Adult and Senior Care Facilities to settings where all individuals must wear masks indoors, and a reference to new requirements for unvaccinated workers.  Some California counties are returning to mandatory masks for all in crowded places.  In the Bay Area, Solano County is the only holdout against even RECOMMENDING masks in public indoors spaces.  Dr. Matyas needs to make some difficult decisions soon!

SUMMER SURGE – Masks, Social Distancing & Vaccination

My personal plan is to mask indoors in public even though I’m vaccinated, and I’d recommend it for you, too.  Everyone talk to anyone you know who isn’t vaccinated.  This thing ain’t over yet!

Cases by City on Wednesday, July 28:
  • Benicia added 10 new cases today, a total of 1,102 cases since the outbreak began, 4.0% of its population of 27,570.
  • Dixon added 10 new case today, total of 2,007 cases, 10.1% of its population of 19,794.
  • Fairfield added 67 new cases today, total of 9,627 cases, 8.2% of its population of 117,149.
  • Rio Vista added 3 new cases today, total of 424 cases, 4.5% of its population of 9,416.
  • Suisun City added 25 new cases today, total of 2,512 cases, 8.5% of its population of 29,447.
  • Vacaville added 48 new cases today, a total of 9,389 cases, 9.5% its of population of 98,807.
  • Vallejo added 57 new cases today, a total of 10,533 cases, 8.8% of its population of 119,544.
  • Unincorporated added 1 new case today, a total of 109 cases (population figures not available).

COMPARE: From the most recent report on Solano County’s COVID Dashboard, Monday, July 26:


The data on this page is from today’s and the previous Solano County COVID-19 Dashboard.  The Dashboard is full of much more information and updated weekdays around 4 or 5pm.  On the County’s dashboard, you can hover a mouse or click on an item for more information.  Note the tabs at top for “SummaryDemographics” and “Vaccines.”  Click here to go to today’s Solano County Dashboard.


Sources

For safe and healthy communities…