coronavirus

12,262 New Breakthrough COVID Cases in Mass.

The new report brings the total number of breakthrough COVID-19 cases in Massachusetts to 434,394 and the death toll among people with breakthrough infections to 2,032

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Massachusetts health officials on Tuesday reported around 12,000 new breakthrough COVID cases over the last week, down from the previous period, and 243 more deaths in people with breakthrough cases.

In the last week, 12,262 new breakthrough cases -- infections in people who have been vaccinated -- were reported, with 350 more vaccinated people hospitalized over the period, Massachusetts Department of Public Health officials said Tuesday. It's a 55% drop in the rate of new breakthrough cases in Massachusetts -- the previous week saw 27,530 new COVID infections in vaccinated people.

The new report brings the total number of breakthrough cases to 434,394 and the death toll among people with breakthrough infections to 2,032.

Both figures remain a tiny percentage of the total number of all people who have been vaccinated.

The equivalent of just 0.13% of vaccinated people have been hospitalized with COVID and 8.3% have had confirmed infections. An even smaller percentage has died: 0.04%. The report also doesn't indicate how many of the breakthrough cases are in people with underlying conditions, though it also notes that "may be undercounted due to discrepancies" in records.

Top Boston doctors talk about school mask mandates, returning to normalcy and preventive and therapeutic treatment on NBC10 Boston’s weekly “COVID Q&A” series.

While vaccinated people are getting COVID-19, the virus' effects are severely blunted in them, and breakthrough cases rarely lead to hospitalizations or deaths. In December, Massachusetts Department of Public Health officials released a study that found that 97% of breakthrough cases in the state did not become severely ill and rarely led to deaths, especially among young people.

That's why public health officials worldwide continue to stress the importance of vaccination and booster shots. (If you still need to be vaccinated, here's a tool to find the closest vaccination provider to your home.

Massachusetts' COVID metrics, tracked on the Department of Public Health's interactive coronavirus dashboard, have been declining in recent weeks after a peak that officials attribute in part to the omicron variant.

The state has started releasing a new breakdown of virus hospitalizations, data that indicates whether COVID-19 is the primary cause of hospitalization, or incidental. This data shows that from Jan. 13 to Feb. 4, roughly 50% of COVID-19 patients were primary cases.

Experts have said that case count reporting may be a less accurate indicator during the omicron surge, given the difficulties in getting tested and widespread use of rapid tests that go unreported. Officials also warn that health care systems are still under great pressure from the influx of COVID-19 patients and related staffing shortages.

Nearly 13.7 million vaccine doses have now been administered in Massachusetts. That includes more than 5.7 million first doses of either Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, 4.8 million second shots, and over 339,000 Johnson & Johnson one-dose shots. Over 2.7 million booster shots have been administered.

Health officials on Tuesday reported that a total of 5,232,233 Massachusetts residents have been fully vaccinated.

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