Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) researchers report that more than 10,000 fully vaccinated Americans have experienced “breakthrough” COVID-19 through April 30, 2021. They note that the figures are likely an underestimate.

The 10,262 SARS-CoV-2 vaccine breakthrough infections were reported from January 1 through April 30 in 46 US states and territories. About one quarter of affected people, 27%, were asymptomatic. Two percent, or 160 people, with breakthrough infections died…

according to preliminary data, the patchiness of which, say the CDC and outside experts, makes likely that the these numbers are an underestimation, the true ones much higher

     The above and below quotes are from a no-paywall (but you do have to register) highly readable article at Medscape (the professional arm of WebMD). It cites a study published online May 25 at the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) (completely free to read, no registration required).

     Skimming DK’s covid tag-pages, I didn’t find reportage about this, so it seemed worth mentioning. The Medscape article is quite brief, remarking later:

…A majority of breakthrough cases, 63%, occurred in women. The median age of people in the study was 58 years (interquartile range, 40–74 years).

Genetic sequencing was performed on 5% of these reported cases. Nearly two thirds, 64%, of these cases involved a SARS-CoV-2 variant of concern. These variants included B.1.1.7 (UK) in 56% of breakthrough cases, B.1.427 (California) in 29%, P.1 (Brazil) in 29%, B.1.429 in 25% (California), and B.1.351 (South Africa) in 13%….

   The FDA classifies all COVID vaccines distributed in the US as having Emergency Use Authorization (wik):

…It does not constitute approval of the drug in the full statutory meaning of the term, but instead authorizes FDA to facilitate availability of an unapproved product, or an unapproved use of an approved product, during a declared state of emergency from one of several agencies or of a “material threat” by the Secretary of Homeland Security.[1]

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     This always meant there were going to be a greater extent of problems than with vaccines that came into wide usage following normal testing and approval protocols. Everyone in the global population being vaccinated is functioning, in effect, as volunteer experimental research subjects in clinical trial phase.

     Most of us doubt that this fact should deter anyone from getting vaxxed against COVID-19, since we really have no more-reliable means of protection for ourselves, families and communities. But it remains a fact nevertheless.

     Expert commenters might like to go into greater detail, so I’ll leave it to them. My own thinking from the start, in being aware of this fact, is that I plan to go on masking and disinfecting anytime I have to be in situations where I’m within six feet of other people. For their sake and beyond, as well as my own.

      The conditions have not changed that brought this plague from oblivion to global death-dealing and long-haul handicapping of virtually every population on the planet. Many of the same experts that had predicted this plague for over a decade also say there are more to come, some of them variants, some of them utterly new, at least as far as mainstream medical technologies are concerned.

SHANGHAI, CHINA - DECEMBER 25:  (CHINA OUT) A man and his child wear masks as they visit The Bund on December 25, 2013 in Shanghai, China. Heavy smog covered many parts of China on Christmas Eve, worsening air pollution.  (Photo by VCG/VCG via Getty Images)
h/t uploader Walter Einenkel (DK Official Image) approx 2014

     So it may be that if we consider anti-vaxxers ought not to be free to refuse the hopeful but uncertain jab, and if we consider that anti-maskers should never have been left free to spread this plague, then we’re under obligation to consider that passing what we hope to be the worst peaks does not leave free us now to just go back to how we lived before.

     It may be that we all need —for our own sake— to go on making masking and hygiene methods as common here as in countries where smog and viral transmission for years have prompted those populations to make protection just part of their ordinary routines.

     It may also be, of course, that everyone who can should modify lifestyle and support population control, so consumer demands don’t push further into nondomesticated places on the planet where more microbes incubate that science is far from equipped to deal with.

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