Friday, July 30, 2021

'Breakthrough' Cases Show the Power of Shots

So says the Los Angeles Times.

Here, "‘Breakthrough’ COVID-19 cases rising in L.A., but the vaccinated are still protected, data show":

Los Angeles County has seen a rise in “breakthrough” coronavirus cases as of late, but data continue to show those who are vaccinated for COVID-19 enjoy vigorous protection — even from the contagious Delta variant — and are far less likely to be hospitalized should they become infected.

The latest figures underscore how the county’s recent coronavirus surge is different from the pandemic’s earlier spikes, both in terms of who is getting sick and how the virus is spreading countywide.

In June, fully vaccinated residents made up 20% of all confirmed coronavirus infections in those 16 and old

er, according to figures from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. However, that same month, they accounted for only 8% of all COVID-19 hospitalizations.

That trend has persisted into July. Over the first half of the month, roughly 26% of all diagnosed cases were in fully vaccinated residents, according to figures county Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer presented this week.

This means unvaccinated residents still accounted for almost three times as many infections, even though they’ve been a minority of the population since the start of the month.

And despite the uptick in post-vaccination “breakthrough” cases, the proportion of those people becoming sick enough to require hospitalization over the early part of this month remained essentially flat from June.

“Although vaccinated people are seeing a rise in new COVID diagnosis, they are primarily experiencing their infections not as severe illnesses that bring them to the emergency room, but as bad colds,” Ferrer said this week.

Those who are unvaccinated, she continued, “simply do not have the same level of confidence if they get infected with this virus that it will lead to mild illness.”

Out of the 504 people who died of COVID-19 countywide from April 1 to June 30, 96% were either unvaccinated or had not completed their inoculation regimen, data show.

County health officials are trying to better understand the factors, such as being immunocompromised, that may put fully vaccinated people at risk of dying from COVID-19, Ferrer said.

The rise of vaccinations is also shifting the trajectory of this summer spike. In previous surges, lower-income, densely populated areas were hardest hit as essential workers got COVID-19 on the job and then spread it at home. Areas such as East Los Angeles, the northeast San Fernando Valley and South Los Angeles saw some of the worst spread.

This time is different.

As of July 17, communities that had high rates of transmission included downtown Los Angeles, West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Venice, Hollywood Hills and Studio City, Ferrer said.

“These are different communities from those with high case rates during our previous surges,” she said. “So far, it appears transmission in these areas is being driven mostly by community spread among young adults.”

In some areas, she added, “there were several smaller outbreaks among persons experiencing homelessness that also may have contributed, just slightly, to the higher rates. And we also have noted that there have been outbreaks in some of these communities at food and bar establishments that also are contributing to the higher rates.”

More than 53% of Angelenos have now been fully vaccinated, according to data compiled by The Times...