With breakthrough cases, how do we know the vaccine is working? Well, look at the proof.
Consider this: the delta variant is thought to be more than twice as virulent as the original COVID-19 strain, but the highest seven-day average for new cases from the current case surge is a third lower than the peak of the winter case spike. And projections released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate we’re likely at the peak number of cases.
What’s different? Why didn’t we see higher case numbers?
Well, fewer people are taking some of the known steps to minimize spread — masking, social distancing, etc. — than in the winter or during 2020, so it’s not that more people are covering their faces and keeping their distance. And there are fewer mandates requiring people to take those precautions. This situation likely accelerates spread, especially in our schools.
But nationwide, our number of new cases is lower.
The biggest difference: the vaccine.
Places with higher vaccination rates have by and large seen fewer cases per capita during this spike. In South Carolina, which ranks 40th out of 50 states for vaccination rate, the seven-day average reached just 4.3% below the spike in January. A number of states with below-average vaccination rates — Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi — have already topped the winter spike.
Elsewhere in this edition, you’ll find the latest hospitalization data from Self Regional Healthcare which again shows that far more people are hospitalized with COVID-19 who aren’t vaccinated than who are — and they skew much younger. This is in line with data released regularly from other hospitals as well as state and federal health officials.
The data is all very clear: Vaccination greatly reduces your risk of getting COVID-19 and experiencing serious illness from it.
If you haven’t already been vaccinated, please talk to your health care provider about the vaccine or visit scdhec.gov/vaxfacts.