What does a breakthrough COVID-19 feel like? That question has been asked more often, as instances of breakthrough cases rise- and are reported in the news. While vaccines have been proven to be very effective at preventing serious illness it doesn’t mean illness cannot happen.
In fact, many who experience one of these breakthrough cases of COVID-19 find that they have no symptoms. That has been blamed for the recent surge of Delta variant, as cases and hospitalizations spike in places where vaccination rates remain low.
To date, 166 million people have been fully-vaccinated against COVID-19, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recorded just 7,525 breakthrough cases that led to hospitalization or death.
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To answer that first question, it takes talking to some of the people who have dealt with these patients directly. The breakthrough cases make up a very small percentage of the total cases of COVID-19, or those that require hospitalization. Even still though, there’s been significant variation between individuals who experience breakthrough cases of COVID-19 delta.
A probation officer in Hawaii spoke with Vox News about his experience. After returning home following his positive test – nearly four months after becoming fully-vaccinated – Michael Miranda developed chills, sneezing, and a fever of 102.
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Doctors say that while the breakthrough case data is coming, it’s a steady, constant undercount. “But whatever we know as breakthrough data is absolutely an undercount,” Jessica Malaty Rivera, an infectious disease epidemiologist, told Vox News.
The bottom line takeaway from the data that does exist is simple: Experience is unique based on the individual and case. While some experience no symptoms- others will experience symptoms- despite vaccination status.
Doctors say the expectation and experience gap is the biggest challenge to navigate. Explaining that while the vaccine is effective at preventing serious illness in most people- does not end that some people believe the vaccine will fully-prevent COVID.
There’s also the mixed political messaging, which has further complicated things.
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