The risk of a COVID breakthrough infection appears to be lower than health experts initially believed.
The New York Times reports some comforting news for those who have been fully vaccinated against COVID reporting that while experts first believed the Delta variant made even fully vaccinated people highly vulnerable for getting infected and passing the virus, new CDC data suggests the risk is "less alarming."
They note the Delta variant accounts for the vast majority of infections in America right now AND does pose a serious risk for everyone, but the NYT reports a breakthrough infection is actually "uncommon." But just how uncommon?
The site reports "The chances of the average vaccinated American contracting Covid [is] probably about 1 in 5,000 per day" and goes on to explain the risk drops even lower if you live in an area with high vaccination rates or if you take safety precautions like wearing a mask.
If you reside in a county or city with a large number of fully vaccinated people -- the NYT points out cities like Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and the greater Northeast region of the country -- the risk of a breakthrough infection drops to "probably less than 1 in 10,000." But, they also warn that in areas like the Southeast, where vaccination rates are much lower, the risk increases. "The infection rates in the least vaccinated states are about four times as high as in the most vaccinated states," the paper writes.
The NYT health experts also explain that viral loads -- the scary term thrown around in recent months when talking about the breakthrough infections and the Delta variant) -- are handled in dramatically different ways depending on if you are vaccinated or not. They explain even if a vaccinated person is exposed to a large COVID viral load, the immune system is likely to kick in and "often before the host body gets sick or infects others."
The latest CDC data notes just how rare it is for a vaccinated person to become really sick from COVID, even with a breakthrough infection. They point to Seattle, where in recent days, only 1 in around 1 million vaccinated residents has been hospitalized with COVID symptoms.
Of course, everyone's best defense is to get vaccinated and if you -- or a loved one -- have yet to do so, The Doctors encourage you to get the vaccine. Find out where to get your free COVID-19 vaccine, here or search vaccines.gov, text your ZIP code to 438829, or call 1-800-232-0233 to find locations near you in the U.S.