Some 35,000 vaccinated Americans are getting infected with COVID-19 every week, according to a recent estimate from a top U.S. health agency.
While the COVID-19 vaccines reduce the incidence of disease, hospitalization, and death, approximately 0.02 percent of Americans who are vaccinated against the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus have still been contracting it on a weekly basis, according to the estimate.
The estimate was part of an internal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) presentation obtained and published by The Washington Post.
The CDC confirmed to The Epoch Times that the presentation was authentic.
COVID-19 cases among vaccinated Americans are known as breakthrough cases. The CDC stopped publicly reporting the number of breakthrough cases on May 1, except for those that result in hospitalization or death.
The last count the agency released was 10,262 through April 30. But that was an acknowledged undercount, because the case numbers came from voluntary reporting from states and territories. Some states didn’t submit any numbers.
The CDC has come under fire this week for recommending vaccinated persons wear masks, an abrupt shift from under three months ago, without being able to point to published data to support the change.
The internal presentation, dated July 29, says breakthrough cases are expected to increase as a proportion of total cases as the number of vaccinated people grows.
But it undercuts recent claims by public officials that as many as 99 percent of those who died with COVID-19 were unvaccinated.
According to data from COVID-NET that’s presented on one of the slides, 15 percent of the in-hospital deaths in May were among the fully vaccinated, a significant jump from 3.1 percent in April.
Additionally, 9 percent of COVID-19 patients in May were fully vaccinated, nearly double the number from a month prior.
COVID-NET conducts surveillance on laboratory-confirmed COVID-19-associated hospitalizations in nearly 100 counties in 14 states, constituting approximately 10 percent of the U.S. population.
COVID-NET’s public-facing platform does not show the percentage of hospitalizations broken down by unvaccinated/vaccinated. It does not show death statistics at all.
The presentation also points to evidence that vaccines lower the viral load, or amount of virus, and duration of illness in the vaccinated who experienced breakthrough infections, and cites unpublished data as showing no evidence of waning immunity among the vaccinated.
On the other hand, three published studies—one is not peer-reviewed—suggest vaccine effectiveness is not as high in people with compromised immune systems, such as organ recipients or patients on dialysis. Additional evidence points to lower efficacy estimates for vaccines built on messenger RNA technology in nursing home residents.
The Delta variant of the CCP virus has made things worse.
The variant is more transmissible than Ebola, the common cold, and smallpox, according to the presentation, and evidence from the United Kingdom, Singapore, and India indicate Delta infections, including infections among the vaccinated, feature higher viral loads and longer durations of shedding, or possible transmission.
The CDC’s citation from India was listed as rejected during peer review, though that condition was later altered by the website hosting the preprint.
Unpublished data suggest that Delta cases among the vaccinated, or breakthrough cases, may be as transmissible as unvaccinated cases, McMorrow wrote.
She cited breakthrough cases reported to national passive surveillance systems and an outbreak in Barnstable, Massachusetts.
Given the indications of increased transmissibility, lower vaccine effectiveness, and the current number of people vaccinated in the United States, nonpharmaceutical interventions such as “universal masking” are needed to reduce transmission of the Delta variant, the presentation concludes. The CDC claimed, without evidence, that masking could prevent up to 60 percent of CCP virus cases.
Officials were also told to consider vaccine mandates “to protect vulnerable populations.”
The presentation was shared within the CDC and drawn on heavily by Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the agency’s director, during discussions with members of Congress this week, according to the Post.
President Joe Biden on Thursday announced federal workers would have to show proof of vaccination or face strict rules, including regular COVID-19 testing.
The White House said the Delta variant drove the announcement.
The CDC was unable to point to any published evidence for its mask guidance change this week. A spokesperson told The Epoch Times in an email that the evidence was set to be published on Friday.
Some experts said the CDC’s leaked presentation included much information that was already known, but some that was not.
Dr. Bob Wachter, chair of the University of California San Francisco’s Department of Medicine, said the main piece of good news was that vaccines, despite dropping in efficacy against infection, appeared to remain highly effective against preventing severe infection.
He also backed the CDC’s recommendation for even the vaccinated to wear masks indoors.
“Data argues that universal masking is critical to block spread of Delta—a more infectious, and possibly more serious virus—particularly if it’s true that vaccinated folks can be part of the chain of spread,” he wrote on Twitter.
Others questioned whether the evidence presented by the CDC should lead to a change in behavior among the vaccinated.
“If fully vaccinated, not much has changed for me based on this new data,” Dr. Farzad Mostashari, a former assistant commissioner in the New York City Department of Health, said on social media. “I will follow all guidance & ordinances, but I’m still not a likely vector of spread I’m still less likely to get it, and if not immunosuppressed, almost assured of protection against serious illness.”