CDC's Update On Breakthrough COVID-19 Cases


Photo: JOEL SAGET/AFP via Getty Images

Whether it’s members of the New York Yankees or Florida’s Attorney General Ashley Moody, high-profile cases have become increasingly common. This as the country is experiencing as many cases today as it was in April when vaccination levels were about half of where we are today. This against the backdrop of the recent Israeli study indicating the Pfizer vaccine was only 39% effective at preventing infection of the Delta variant. So, what’s the real deal in real-time when it comes to so-called COVID-19 breakthrough cases? 

According to the CDC, there are an estimated 153,000 fully vaccinated people who are symptomatic COVID-19 breakthrough cases. Out of 156 million who’ve been vaccinated that percentage is extremely low at under 1%. The CDC said they have no way of knowing how many asymptomatic breakthroughs there might be. 

As for the other end of the spectrum, those who’ve been hospitalized or have even died. As of July 19th, there were 5,601 hospitalizations and 1,141 deaths. Currently, there are more questions than answers to the questions regarding prevention abilities of the vaccines to COVID’s variants and length of efficacy. 

There’s also the real-time problem in Florida with new cases at last year’s pre-vaccine levels. The good news is that against the worst COVID-19 outcomes it still appears the vaccines remain highly effective. That was also shown to be the case in the Israeli study. While the Pfizer vaccine was only 39% effective at prevention, it remained 91% effective against serious symptoms from the Delta variant. For now, only around 4% of symptomatic breakthroughs are resulting in hospitalizations or worse. As we watch and wait to see what’s next that’s at least somewhat encouraging. 

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