MD- following a series of large public events last month, Massachusetts is now struggling to contain a spike in Covid-19 infections all across the state.
During the first two weeks of July, thousands of Massachusetts residents gathered in Provincetown (Barnstable County) for two back-to-back celebrations of Independence week and Bear week.
Delta Variant Outbreak Worries Massachusetts
At the start of the festivities on July 3rd, the Department of Public Health of Massachusetts had reported that there were no new cases of Covid-19 infection (per 100,000 residents of the county) for the last 14 days.
But at the end of the two weeks of festivities on July 17th however, there were 117 daily cases per 100,000 residents. Most of these newly infected people mentioned that they had visited crowded indoor and outdoor locations like bars and restaurants in the days prior to contracting the infection.
By July 26th almost 469 new Covid cases had been reported in Massachusetts. Of these infected cases, 346 persons had taken both their vaccination doses and only 274 of the vaccinated cases were symptomatic. However, the viral load for both vaccinated and unvaccinated persons was found to be very similar.
Of the 133 newly infected patients that were genetically sequenced almost 90% were infected with the Delta variant of the Covid-19 virus.
In view of the rising number of Delta variant infections, the CDC has announced that specific jurisdictions and tighten their indoor masking regulations and other safety protocols in order bring the infection rates under control.
The CDC has also tightened its mask restrictions for vaccinated people in areas of the high possibility of transmissions. According to CDC Chief Dr. Walensky, this move will protect immune-compromised or unvaccinated persons from contracting the virus from vaccinated persons. Walensky clarified that vaccinated people may contract the virus as well as spread it, but their chances of severe illness are minimal.
The Provincetown situation has provided scientists a lot of insight into the transmission capacity of the virus. It has shattered hopes that vaccinated persons no longer have to take any virus protection measures. The theory of possible herd immunity is also being questioned by some experts.
At present 49.8% of the US population is fully vaccinated and more than 58% have received at least their first dose of vaccination. In Massachusetts, almost 69% of all adults were vaccinated by the time of the festivals in July. Massachusetts proves that herd immunity has not yet developed or it is not applicable for the highly contagious Delta variant of the virus.
But till July 30th Massachusetts had not yet reported any deaths from the Provincetown spike. The breakthrough cases of infections in fully vaccinated persons are also not leading to hospitalizations in most cases.
In the USA at present, the death rate among fully vaccinated persons is 0.0008%. About 163 million people in the USA have received both their Covid-19 vaccine doses. 6,239 among them have been hospitalized due to post-vaccination infections and only 1,263 among them have passed away.
Vaccines are working very effectively. People may still contract breakthrough infections, but their chances of developing fatal symptoms are absolutely minimal. The delta variant and its quick spread is creating a lot of panic among people, but experts continue to encourage people to get vaccinated so that the virus does not get another chance to mutate and become deadlier. Masks and vaccines continue to be the keywords in all Covid mitigation programs. Masking for vaccinated persons is also being introduced once again to keep infections at bay.
The province is an example of what Covid can do if things are reopened too quickly and without proper safety protocols. Americans still have to stay vigilant and maintain Covid protocols so that no new outbreaks can occur and take away innocent lives.