New COVID-19 infections have surged almost 50% in the United States, with steep rises even in states with high vaccination rates.
According to a USA Today analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University, the U.S. recorded an average of 19,455 new cases per day over the last seven days—up 47.5 % from the previous week.
Hospitalizations are up 31.2%, with the seven-day average at 2,657, up from 2,025 over the prior seven-day period, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Deaths, a lagging indicator behind hospitalizations, are down about 25%, according to the CDC, and averaged 154 per day for the last seven days, down from 205 the previous week.
Fewer deaths (for now) are obviously cause for celebration, but what’s driving all the new infections?
Could this be the beginning of vaccine failure at a mass scale?
Some public health experts and news outlets like NPR are blaming unvaccinated pockets of the population for the rise in cases, but a look at their own data shows plenty of heavily vaccinated areas in 43 states with steep increases.
There are currently 5,186 hospitalized or fatal vaccine breakthrough cases that have been reported to CDC, and simple internet search produces dozens of news stories about doctors and hospitals all over the U.S. seeing hospitalizations and even deaths in fully vaccinated individuals.
Health officials’ assurances about the efficacy of vaccines in preventing serious illness and death have also been less than reassuring as fully vaccinated individuals are still getting and spreading COVID.
The more-contagious Delta variant is getting a large share of the blame for new infections, accounting for 58% of all new cases, and new data shows that the Pfizer vaccine is only around 64% effective against Delta.
“There are reports coming in that vaccinated populations have cases of infection, particularly with the delta variant. The majority of these are mild or asymptomatic infections.”— Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, the World Health Organization’s chief scientist
Sounds pretty good, but the report goes on to say that a quarter of the fatalities from COVID post-vaccine are in people under 65.
“Breakthrough infections are rare, and about 75% of the people who die or are hospitalized with Covid after vaccination are over the age of 65, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”—CNBC Health & Science report, July 12, 2021
There are other warning signs about vaccine failure.
Israel, which has been at the tip of the spear vaccinating its population, has reported that 40% of new COVID cases are in fully vaccinated individuals, in contrast to 0.0086% of new cases in people who were previously infected with COVID.
“By contrast, Israelis who were vaccinated were 6.72 times more likely to get infected after the shot than after natural infection…—Arutz Sheva, July 13, 2021
Malta, which has the highest vaccination rate of any country—with over 80% of it’s adult population fully vaccinated—is seeing a 600% surge in cases over the past week.
The vaccine makers themselves have signaled little confidence in the lasting immunity offered by their products, with both Moderna and Pfizer in talks with the Food and Drug Administration for an emergency use authorization for booster shots.
This is obviously going to be disappointing for some people who thought the vaccines were a magic bullet, to only find out they are nothing more than repeated booster shots with a high risk side effect profile and an underwhelming immunity duration.
What does all this mean for the future? Like most questions about COVID, the answer is, we don’t know yet.
But it sure looks like COVID will be with us for the foreseeable future.
Categories: COVID Counterpunch