Speed Reads

Vaccines in Vogue

COVID-19 surges in Florida and Texas show the risk to vaccinated residents 'is effectively zero,' officials say

The number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. has nearly tripled over the past two weeks as the highly infectious Delta variant spreads throughout the country, to a daily average of 37,000 case from fewer than 13,700 on July 6, according to Johns Hopkins. The people starting to flood regional hospitals and those dying are almost all among the 43.8 percent of Americans who are unvaccinated.

Florida is one of the drivers of the upsurge in U.S. COVID-19 cases, reporting an average of about 6,500 cases a day over the past week, and Gov. Ron DeSantis is among the rush of high-profile Republicans publicly urging constituents to voluntarily get vaccinated. 

"If you are vaccinated, fully vaccinated, the chance of you getting seriously ill or dying from COVID is effectively zero," DeSantis said Wednesday "If you look at the people that are being admitted to hospitals, over 95 percent of them are either not fully vaccinated or not vaccinated at all." There will be the occasional "breakthrough" case, he added, but "I can tell you in Florida, your chance of surviving if you're vaccinated is close to 100 percent."

One of those breakthrough cases is Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody (R), who announced Wednesday evening that she has tested positive despite being vaccinated and is "only experiencing mild symptoms."  Four days ago, Moody traveled to Texas last week with DeSantis and state Senate President Wilton Simpson (R) for a press conference at the Mexico border with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) and several other state officials. 

Texas is also seeing an steep uptick in coronavirus cases, and the Texas Department of State Health Services said Wednesday that of the 8,787 Texans who have died of COVID-19 since early February, at least 43 were fully vaccinated. "That means 99.5 percent  of people who died due to COVID-19 in Texas from Feb. 8 to July 14 were unvaccinated, while 0.5 percent were the result of 'breakthrough infections,'" The Texas Tribune notes

Data from Britain and other high-vaccine countries backs that up.

"No vaccine is 100 percent," Dr. David Lakey, the chief medical officer of the University of Texas System, told the Tribune. The COVID-19 vaccines are "really, really good at preventing severe disease and hospitalizations," but "there will always be some individuals that will succumb to the illness in the absence of full herd immunity."