Massachusetts study: High viral load in infected vaccines

Status: 07/31/2021 9:57 AM

In the US state of Massachusetts, several people who were also vaccinated have contracted coronavirus at the festivities. Experts attribute this to the delta variant – and recommend mask requirements.

In the tourist city of Provincetown on the US Cape Cod Peninsula, more than 900 cases of coronavirus were recorded after the July 4 national holiday. Those affected came from a total of 23 US states.

469 infections among residents of Massachusetts, where Cape Cod is located, have been closely examined — with surprising results: Nearly three-quarters of them are fully vaccinated. This comes from a study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of the US health authority. However, virologists in the United States assert that the likelihood of those vaccinated with the delta type is much lower than those who have not been vaccinated.

However, once vaccinated people are infected, they appear to transmit the virus just as much as unvaccinated people. Because fully vaccinated people can carry roughly the same viral load as those who are not vaccinated.

Delta variant – as contagious as chickenpox

Based on the investigation, the CDC has recommended a return to indoor concealment requirements — at least in areas where the delta variant is common. This is as contagious as chickenpox. An infected person infects an average of five to nine people – at the start of the epidemic there were two to three people per infected person.

Criticisms from other researchers

Experts agreed in principle with the CDC’s recommendations. But some, such as Jennifer Nuzzo, a researcher at Johns Hopkins University, noted that the Provincetown outbreak did not prove that vaccinated people were a significant source of new infections. The CDC’s recommendations are scientifically reasonable, but not derived from the study.

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The method used in Provincetown to measure the viral load of vaccinated people says nothing about whether a person has infected others, said Angela Rasmussen, a virologist at the University of Saskatchewan. The CDC said more data will be collected. Much larger studies have been done on tens of thousands of vaccinated and unvaccinated people.

“All caution to the wind”

Travis Dagenais is one of the vaccines in Provincetown who has been found to be infected. He was among the many who trusted in vaccination protection, “thrown all caution to the wind” and celebrated the 4th of July in the crowd. “The general message is that the vaccine is back to normal,” the 35-year-old told the Associated Press news agency. It reports a moderate course of the disease with symptoms similar to the common cold. After a few days it was over.

With information from Sebastian Hess, ARD Studio Washington


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