July 30 (Reuters) – Three quarters of people infected with COVID-19 at public events in a Massachusetts town were fully vaccinated, a study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showed.
The study, published on Friday without naming the town, suggested the Delta variant of the virus was highly contagious.
The study found vaccinated individuals had a similar amount of virus presence as the unvaccinated, suggesting that, unlike with other variants, vaccinated people infected with the Delta variant could transmit the virus, the CDC said.
CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said this was a “pivotal discovery” leading to CDC’s recommendation this week that masks be worn in areas where cases were surging as a precaution against possible transmission by fully vaccinated people.
“The masking recommendation was updated to ensure the vaccinated public would not unknowingly transmit virus to others, including their unvaccinated or immunocompromised loved ones,” Walensky said.
Overall, 79% of the vaccinated individuals who were infected with COVID-19 also reported symptoms such as cough, headache, sore throat and fever. Four had to be hospitalized.
A separate CDC internal document, first reported by the Washington Post, described the Delta variant as being as transmissible as chickenpox and cautioned it could cause severe disease. read more
The new study’s authors recommended local health authorities consider requiring masks in indoor public settings regardless of vaccination status or the number of cases in the community.
Multiple events in the town in Barnstable county, Massachusetts had attracted thousands of tourists from across the country.
The study identified 469 people with COVID-19, 74% of whom were fully vaccinated, following the large gatherings. Testing identified the Delta variant in 90% of virus specimens from 133 people.
Reporting by Manas Mishra in Bengaluru; Editing by Howard Goller and Edmund Blair
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