Health experts believe there will soon be an increase in COVID-19 breakthrough cases, but that most of those who are infected will have mild illnesses.
Due to data suggesting the waning efficacy of Covid vaccines and the high transmissibility of the Delta variant, more fully vaccinated Americans are starting to contract the virus.
Over time, efficacy of the vaccines will continue to decline, and with, Covid booster shots remaining in limbo, even more breakthrough cases will occur.
But most cases will be mild – even asymptomatic – with only 15,790 of at least 178 million fully vaccinated Americans being hospitalized due to the virus – or only 0.008 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
While Covid hospitalizations and deaths are still almost entirely among unvaccinated people, experts believe there will be an increase of breakthrough COVID-19 cases in the coming months as vaccine efficacy wanes. Pictured: A Covid patient receives treatment in a Sarasota, Florida, ICU on September 22
In order to boost the falling vaccine efficacy, the federal government planned to make Covid vaccine boosters available starting this week. Regulators are yet to approve additional shots, though, leaving the plan in limbo. Pictured: A woman in Los Angeles, California, receives a COVID-19 vaccine dose on September 22
‘It’s likely that everybody will probably get infected with COVID-19,’ Dr Amesh Adalja, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, in Baltimore, Maryland, told Roll Call.
‘The goal is to make sure that at that time, that infection occurs after you’ve been vaccinated so it’s mild.’
Research finds that the COVID-19 vaccines have lost some effectiveness over time, but breakthrough cases resulting in hospitalization or death are still relatively rare.
Fully vaccinated people, especially those who live in areas with high Covid transmission and low vaccination rates, can still catch the virus, though.
‘With a lot more virus circulating – and almost all of it is Delta, which is more transmissible – a fully vaccinated person is more likely to be exposed than they were in July, depending on where they live,’ Dr Jen Kates, director of global health and HIV policy at the Kaiser Family Foundation, told Roll Call.
Increases in breakthrough infections have been reported across the nation.
Massachusetts recorded 4,568 new breakthrough cases last week, with 178 of them ending in hospitalization – up from 3,919 breakthrough infections the previous week.
In Los Angeles, fully vaccinated people accounted for around one in every five Covid cases reported in mid-July compared to 11 percent in May and just two percent in March.
Additionally, around one-in-five cases detected in Colorado during the first three weeks of July were among fully vaccinated people compared to representing just three percent of all cases earlier this year.
Health officials assure Americans that the vaccines still work, though, and that they are still the best protection against the virus that has killed over 679,000 Americans.
‘If I’m in a little bit of rain and I have an umbrella, I don’t get wet,’ Dr Carlos del Rio, a professor at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, told Roll Call, eplaining that breakthrough cases are now occurring because of the ‘storm’ created by the Delta variant.
‘But if I’m in a hurricane, I’m going to get wet despite wearing an umbrella. That doesn’t mean you can say, all of a sudden, umbrellas don’t work very well. It’s a hurricane.’
In order to prevent breakthrough cases, the White House attempted to introduce Covid booster shots.
Last month, federal health officials announced plans to rollout vaccine boosters starting on September 20, pending approval from regulators.
The shots are still yet to received approval, though, and the plan to get fully vaccinated Americans additional shots is in limbo.
Some have argued these additional shots are not necessary, though, as breakthrough cases are still unlikely to result in hospitalizations or deaths.
Currently in the U.S., around 90,000 people are hospitalized with the virus and around 2,000 people are dying every day.
Almost all of those cases are among unvaccinated people.
These cases can still cause disruptions to people’s day-to-day lives, though.
A positive Covid test could prevent someone from going to work or taking part in other activities for around two weeks.
Getting sick is not particularly fun either, and even a person that will not require serious medical care will still have to deal with a fever, body aches and other symptoms of the virus.
Covid may become endemic – meaning it will be a persistent part of our world like the common flu is – and experts recommend robust testing strategies to keep the virus at bay in the future.