New England, the region of the country with the highest vaccination rate, is currently experiencing a record surge in COVID cases, hospitalizations and deaths.
The Associated Press reported the cases, hospitalizations and deaths are all higher than before vaccines were widely available earlier this year.
This is leading some in the region to blame those who have chosen not to get vaccinated for breakthrough cases — cases where fully vaccinated people still wind up with COVID.
“I think it’s clearly frustrating for all of us,” Michael Pieciak, the commissioner of the Vermont Department of Financial Regulation, told the AP. “We want kids to be safe in school, we want parents not to have to worry about their child’s education and health.”
Meanwhile, Tom McCarthy, the executive director of the Rhode Island Department of Health COVID Response Unit, told the wire service that he thinks if more people would choose vaccines, it would prevent further case surges.
“What we’ve learned with [the delta variant] and looking beyond delta, is because that’s where our focus is as well, to really reach those levels of vaccination, to give you that true population level protection, you need to be in excess of 90 percent,” said McCarthy.
The AP reported that the five states — Vermont, Connecticut, Maine, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts — which lead the U.S. in vaccination rates are all in the area of the current record outbreak.
Vermont is the country’s most vaccinated state at 69.4 percent, while more than 61 percent of eligible residents in New Hampshire, the tenth most vaccinated state, have been fully vaccinated, according to the AP.
Right now, about 55 percent of Americans are fully vaccinated, meaning the most vaccinated region of the country is now experiencing numbers of cases and deaths not seen before.
In the post-vaccine era of the coronavirus pandemic, this raises some serious questions with regard to why this is occurring.
We saw a similar trend in Israel in recent months. The country this past summer achieved getting 63 percent of its eligible population vaccinated. Still, by late August, cases surged — including large numbers of breakthrough cases.
CNBC reported that by the end of August, cases in the country were at a record eclipsing that of last winter, before vaccines were available.
The spread of the virus was so severe in Israel that health officials recorded a rate of 992 new cases of per one million people at the end of August. That number might appear low, but at the time, the U.S. recorded 446 cases per one million people, which is considered somewhat high, according to CNBC.
There is also the possibility that these vaccines, despite touted results and efficacy, are fundamentally flawed and incapable of doing what they’re supposed to be doing — which is to immunize people against COVID.
Whatever the answer might be, our country’s public health officials ought to spend more time studying breakthrough cases than anything else. Right now, the politicized Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is planning a study on firearms in an apparent attempt to attach the Second Amendment to a public health crisis.
Meanwhile, the efficacy of the vaccines which are being mandated nationwide is being questioned.
What’s going on in New England is only serving to further undermine messaging about vaccines. The area brags the highest rate of vaccinated residents in the country and has made essentially no progress since the beginning of the pandemic.
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