3,431 New Breakthrough Cases in Mass., 26 More Deaths in Vaccinated People

The number of breakthrough infections is equivalent to just over 1% of all fully vaccinated people in the state

NBCUniversal Media, LLC

Massachusetts health officials on Tuesday reported nearly 3,500 new breakthrough cases over the past week, and 26 more deaths. The number of breakthrough infections is equivalent to just over 1% of all fully vaccinated people in the state.

In the last week, 3,431 new breakthrough cases -- infections in people who have been vaccinated -- were reported, with 138 more vaccinated people hospitalized, Massachusetts Department of Public Health officials said Tuesday. Their report brings the total number of breakthrough cases to 47,929, and the death toll among people with breakthrough infections to 371.

Both figures remain a tiny percentage of the total number of all people who have been vaccinated -- the equivalent of just 0.03% of vaccinated people have been hospitalized, and 1.02% have had confirmed infections (the latter figure up from 0.95% last week). An even smaller percentage has died: 0.008%. 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.

While vaccinated people are getting COVID-19, the virus' effects are severely blunted in them, and breakthrough cases rarely lead to hospitalizations or deaths. That's why public health officials worldwide continue to stress the importance of vaccination. (If you still need to be vaccinated, here's a tool to find the closest vaccination provider to your home.)

Also, another 1,888 confirmed coronavirus cases and 25 new deaths were reported on Tuesday, pushing the state's number of confirmed COVID-19 cases to 782,178 since the start of the pandemic and its death toll to 18,474.

Massachusetts' COVID metrics, tracked on the Department of Public Health's interactive coronavirus dashboard, dashboard, are far lower than they were in spring, and while all of the major ones have risen from their lowest points, some have dipped in recent weeks. Reports on Mondays, or Tuesdays after holiday weekends, include all the data reported since Friday's update.

Massachusetts' seven-day average of positive tests rose to 1.74% Tuesday. It was once above 30%, but had dropped under 0.5% until the delta variant began surging in the state.

The number of patients in Massachusetts hospitals with confirmed COVID-19 cases increased to 579; the figure was once nearly 4,000, but reached under an average of 85 at one point in July. Of those currently hospitalized, 200 are vaccinated, 150 are in intensive care units and 75 are intubated.

Top Boston doctors talk about the "mix and match" approach to COVID vaccine booster shots, variations in vaccine efficacy and school mask mandates.

Nearly 9.9 million vaccine doses have now been administered in Massachusetts.

That includes, from the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, under 4.9 million first shots, nearly 4.4 million second shots and more than 271,000 booster shots. There have been more than 316,000 doses of the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine administered.

Health officials on Tuesday reported that a total of 4,695,388 Massachusetts residents have been fully vaccinated.

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