A COVID-19 outbreak in Massachusetts that was critical for health officials to decide to expand masking recommendations could have been much worse without vaccines, health experts say.
Fully vaccinated people accounted for nearly three-quarters of COVID-19 infections after the events of July 4 in Provincetown, the community that was examined in Massachusetts, according to a CDC study published Friday in the agency’s weekly report on mortality and morbidity. The seaside tourist site is located in the county with the highest vaccination rate in Massachusetts.
CDC director Dr Rochelle Walensky said in a statement that the findings “raised concerns that unlike other variants, vaccinated people infected with the delta could transmit the virus.”
But the epidemic could have been much worse without the vaccines.
“The vaccines are working. Of the 900 cases linked to the Provincetown cluster, there have been no deaths, 7 hospitalizations and the symptoms are largely mild,” tweeted Alex Morse, Provincetown city manager.
“The outbreak is contained and Provincetown is safe.”
Ashish K. Jha, Dean of Brown University School of Public Health, called these “very low rates” on Twitter, adding that the figures are “consistent with the theme that vaccines prevent serious illness.”
Jha said that “thousands of people (some unvaccinated) showed up to celebrate July 4th,” the “crowded bars, clubs and lots of mixtures of vaccinated and unvaccinated people in tight spaces” created ” ideal conditions for the spread of COVID “.
“Summary? The P-town epidemic would have been a nightmare if no one had been vaccinated,” he said.
Eric Topol, founder and director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute, called Provincetown “perhaps the worst case” on Twitter and the added vaccines are very effective in protecting against hospitalization and severe cases.
Peter Hotez, Dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, said on twitter while some revolutionary infections occurred, “vaccines were still very effective and saved lives” in Provincetown.
Also in the news:
► New Orleans emergency medical responders have been hit so hard by a resurgence of COVID-19 cases that the city lacks the capacity to adequately handle 911 calls, the mayor of the city said on Friday. New Orleans, LaToya Cantrell, according to CNN. Cantrell announced new mask mandates and an increase in EMS resources.
► Spectators at Broadway shows will have to show proof of vaccination and wear masks in movie theaters, the producers said on Friday.
► Disney World and Disneyland require all employees to be vaccinated and visitors must once again wear masks.
► With many people complaining of brain fog, attention problems and confusion after COVID-19, researchers are exploring whether the infections could have long-term consequences for the brain. In several trials released on Thursday, scientists have discovered changes in the biology of the brain after hospitalization with COVID-19.
► The IRS has announced that it will extend tax credits to employers who give their employees paid time off to get vaccinated against COVID-19, encouraging them to allow people time to get vaccinated.
📈Today’s numbers: The United States has recorded more than 34.9 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 613,1006 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Global totals: Over 197.3 million cases and 4.2 million deaths. More than 164.1 million Americans – 49.5% of the population – have been fully immunized, according to the CDC.
📘What we read: Casinos from New York to Maryland are breaking new revenue records as punters return to slots and table games amid pent-up demand due to the COVID-19 pandemic, records show. Read more.
Keep refreshing this page for the latest news. Want more? Sign up for USA TODAY’s Coronavirus Watch newsletter to receive updates straight to your inbox and join our Facebook group.
Congress fails to extend moratorium on evictions, despite last-minute efforts
After struggling for votes all day, the House of Representatives failed on Friday to pass a bill that would have extended the eviction freeze set to expire on Saturday.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and Whip James Clyburn issued a joint statement on the failed bill and blamed Republicans.
“It is extremely disappointing that Republicans in the House and Senate have refused to work with us on this issue,” they wrote in the statement. “We urge them to reconsider their opposition to helping millions of Americans and to join us in helping tenants and landlords hardest hit by the pandemic and preventing a nationwide eviction crisis.”
-Chelsey Cox and Ella Lee
Six positive tests for COVID on the Royal Caribbean ship
Six passengers sailing on the Adventure of the Seas of Royal Caribbean International, which departed from Nassau on Saturday, tested positive for COVID-19, Lyan Sierra-Caro, spokesperson for Royal Caribbean, confirmed to USA TODAY on Friday. All are US citizens.
The tests came back as part of routine end-of-cruise testing, which is offered free of charge by the cruise line, as most passengers must show proof of a negative test to return home. Travelers traveling to the United States from international destinations are required to show proof of a negative COVID test or proof that they have recovered from the virus within the past three months.
“These guests were quarantined and then retested with a PCR test to confirm their diagnosis,” Sierra-Caro said. PCR and antigen tests were offered to passengers, depending on their destination. The tests that came back positive were rapid tests, and those passengers were retested Thursday or Friday with a PCR test, which is more reliable.
Contribution: The Associated Press