Hot off the presses a new chart from Dave Dixon on an idea we had. Now that we have a few weeks of minimal breakthrough infection data, we can roughly track the trend. Breakthrough data is reported on Monday. If you take this week’s total of breakthroughs and subtract last week’s, you have the cases in the past week. Then you take all reported cases as of the same dates, and do the same subtraction. Now take the percent of breakthroughs. You can do the same for hospitalizations and deaths. Now this is tentative, because unlike the table of cases by specimen collection date, the breakthrough data is just reported once a week with no date of actual case identification. And the footnotes to the breakthrough data imply it is at least a week lagged. The lag for the breakthrough data may be longer than the lag for the total cases. The breakthrough cases are probably in the total as soon as reported, but the process of identifying who was vaccinated takes some time, apparently. In any event, if anything, now the percent of breakthrough of the cases from the relevant time period may be even higher. But be cautious. And nothing surprising as I explain below.
If you looked at the epidemic presentation and you read the posts during early winter, when vaccines were first coming out, I kept warning people to have realistic expectations, especially because of the way we PCR test. Vaccinated people were going to get exposed, some “infected”, and some, mostly the frail elderly, were going to get really sick and die. And as the percent of the population vaccinated rises, the proportion of all cases occurring among the vaxed will rise. Doesn’t mean vaccines aren’t working, especially if you have realistic expectations for a respiratory virus.
The state won’t want to share this data. Look at the proportion of cases in the most recent week that were breakthroughs. But, again, it is nothing to be alarmed about. And the state could minimize concern by giving us the age structure on breakthrough cases, hospitalizations and deaths, and by giving us the distribution of cycle numbers. Don’t hold your breath on that. Will keep this regularly updated.