COVID-19 infections are surging throughout the US again (more than 95,000 new cases on Thursday) due to the highly contagious delta variant, with outbreaks particularly impacting areas with low vaccination rates. This week, a new study released by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the delta infection has similarly high viral loads in vaccinated and unvaccinated people. So what does that mean as more of these breakthrough cases are happening?
Currently, 164 million people in the US have been fully vaccinated, nearly half the country's total population. The CDC's research suggesting that vaccinated people infected with delta can also easily transmit the virus was the key factor motivating the new federal guidance that fully vaccinated individuals continue to wear masks indoors. At the same time, the CDC report underlines that the number of cases and deaths among fully vaccinated people is very small compared with the number among the unvaccinated.