The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #167504   Message #4120351
Posted By: Stilly River Sage
19-Sep-21 - 12:00 PM
Thread Name: BS: New news on the pandemic COVID-19
Subject: RE: BS: New news on the pandemic COVID-19
Steve, you need to stop characterizing others' understanding of science based upon your own. There is no confusion here. Masks protect me, and protect others. End. of. story.

Breakthrough cases of COVID-19.

Your Health: I Got A 'Mild' Breakthrough Case. Here's What I Wish I'd Known (via National Public Radio, Sept. 12, 2021)

I was just one more example of our country's tug and pull between fantasies of a post-COVID-19 summer and the realities of our still-raging pandemic, where even the vaccinated can get sick.

Not only was I sick, but I'd brought the virus home and exposed my 67-year-old father and extended family during my first trip back to the East Coast since the start of the pandemic. It was just the scenario I had tried to avoid for a year and a half. And it definitely was not the summer vacation I had anticipated.

Where did I get it? Who knows. Like so many Americans, I had loosened up with wearing masks and social distancing after getting fully vaccinated. We had flown across the country, seen friends, stayed at a hotel, eaten indoors and, yes, even went to a long-delayed wedding with other vaccinated people.

I ended up in quarantine at my father's house. Two rapid antigen tests (taken a day apart) came back negative, but I could tell I was starting to feel sick. After my second negative test, the nurse leveled with me. "Don't hang your hat on this," she said of the results. Sure enough, a few days later the results of a PCR test for the coronavirus (this one sent to a lab) confirmed what had become obvious by then.

It was a miserable five days. My legs and arms ached, my fever crept up to 103 and every few hours of sleep would leave my sheets drenched in sweat. I'd drop into bed exhausted after a quick trip down to the kitchen. To sum it up, I'd put my breakthrough case of COVID-19 right up there with my worst bouts of flu. Even after my fever cleared up, I spent the next few weeks feeling low.

Of course, I am very lucky. I didn't go up against the virus with a naïve immune system, like millions of Americans did until vaccines were widely available. And, in much of the world, vaccines are still a distant promise.

"You probably would have gotten much sicker if you had not been vaccinated," Francesca Torriani, an infectious disease physician at the University of California, San Diego, explained to me recently.

You've Had a COVID ‘Breakthrough Infection’—Can You Really Spread It to Others? (via Yale Medicine, published August 11, 2021)
Experts stress that vaccination is the best way to prevent infection—and transmission.
COVID-19 breakthrough infections—where a fully vaccinated person becomes infected with the coronavirus—are occurring across the globe, due, in large part, to the highly contagious Delta variant. Here in the United States, many Americans are concerned for their unvaccinated loved ones, including children and those who are immuno-compromised—and given this news, for themselves as well.

Many of us believed that the COVID-19 vaccines offered complete protection from infection, not just from severe disease and death. And though these breakthrough cases are relatively rare, they are a reminder that the pandemic is far from over.

Apart from getting sick, there is also worry that with the Delta variant, a fully vaccinated person who becomes infected may spread the coronavirus to others. According to recent reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), this can happen—a finding that may be a game-changer, affecting decisions on how to safely go back to school; return to the office; attend concerts or theater and sporting events; and even whether it’s safe to date.

“The CDC data comes at a critical time, when cases—mostly due to the Delta variant—are on the rise in the U.S. Areas with low vaccination coverage are being hit especially hard with the highest daily case rates in months,” says Yale Medicine infectious diseases expert Jaimie Meyer, MD, MS. “Even though many people were ready to throw away their masks and get back to ‘normal’ life this summer, the latest spikes show us that the pandemic persists. We have to use the CDC data to reassess our understanding of our personal and community risk.”

5 Things Vaccinated People Need to Know About Breakthrough Infection (via Houston Methodist, a large hospital and medical system in Texas, Published August 17, 2021)

COVID-19 Delta variant cases are rising — especially among the unvaccinated — causing a rapidly growing surge for our communities and our hospitals.

But, you're vaccinated, so does the Delta variant really mean anything for you?

Unfortunately, yes.

"The new Delta variant spreads much easier than versions of the virus we've seen previously. The good news is that, in terms of preventing severe disease, this variant is still largely susceptible to vaccination. However, no vaccine is ever 100% effective at preventing infection, and breakthrough infections are occurring," says Dr. Drews.

This is OK, though, since vaccines aren't the only safety measure we have to protect ourselves from getting sick and spreading illness.

"It's once again time for each of us to take action towards flattening the curve — even those of us who are vaccinated," says Dr. Drews. "This means putting our masks back on and taking other precautions we've seen make a difference throughout this pandemic."

So, as we take on this new COVID-19 surge, here are five things vaccinated individuals need to know.

1. What the numbers say about your risk
"Breakthrough infections are occurring, but the truly good news is that vaccinated individuals who do get COVID-19 are much less likely to be hospitalized than those who aren't vaccinated," says Dr. Drews. "The death rate is also much, much lower for vaccinated individuals."

According to CDC data, vaccinated individuals are:

8 times less likely to get COVID-19
25 times less likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19
25 times less likely to die of COVID-19

"This is welcome news since it reaffirms that the vaccines are very successful at their primary job — preventing serious disease," says Dr. Drews. "In fact, recent estimates suggest that COVID-19 vaccines have saved a quarter of a million lives and prevented more than 1 million hospitalizations."

In most cases, fully vaccinated people who do get infected with the virus are asymptomatic or experience only mild symptoms. So, while the vaccines aren't perfect, they're pretty darn close.

"The major concern about breakthrough infections during this surge is that fully vaccinated people can inadvertently spread COVID-19 to others, and it may be hard to determine how common this is," warns Dr. Drews.

This is why it's so important for all of us to take precautions right now.

"We must all take steps to not only prevent getting sick, but also prevent spreading COVID-19 to someone more vulnerable — even if that person is vaccinated and his or her risk is lower than it was previously," adds Dr. Drews.

2. What's risky, what's still safe and when to wear a mask
With COVID-19 cases rising by the day, you might be looking for help understanding what's still safe and what's risky again.

"If you're vaccinated, you can still feel relatively safe gathering indoors with a small group of vaccinated individuals," says Dr. Drews. "You'll want to be more cautious when a larger group is involved or you are in an indoor public space."

If cases are high in your area, Dr. Drews recommends moving large gatherings outdoors, as well as taking extra precautions indoors when you don't know the vaccination status of people around you.

As for those extra precautions, here are six times and places to start wearing a mask and social distancing again:

"You may also choose to be more judicious about traveling and spending time in indoor spaces where wearing a mask and maintaining your distance are challenging — such as at bars, restaurants and group exercise classes, for instance," recommends Dr. Drews.

There is a lot more to each of these articles.