NEW YORK — A report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday afternoon emphasized the delta variant of the coronavirus is more dangerous and fast-spreading than first thought.
It also made clear why efforts to get more people vaccinated, including the $100 debit cards that the City of New York is now giving away to newly vaccinated people, are vital.
The CDC report detailed findings from an event in Provincetown, Massachusetts over the Fourth of July holiday, at which about 900 people got infected with COVID. About 75% of the people infected had already been vaccinated.
The CDC attributed that to the delta variant, accounting for virtually all of the cases.
While its data showed that the best protection against the variant, by far, remained vaccination, that data also showed very clearly that delta is potent, and fast-moving.
The research showed that an infected person carries 1,000 times more delta variant virus than infected people did with the original coronavirus strain of last year.
It’s also as contagious as chickenpox, once someone has contracted it.
The delta variant also moves fast. It’s more transmissible than the common cold, seasonal flu, smallpox, MERS, SARS, and even Ebola.
However, said Dr. Waleed Javaid, an epidemiologist and director of infection and disease control at Mt. Sinai, current vaccines provide strong protection from all of the conditions that the new research has found.
The real danger, he said, is being unvaccinated.
“If you’re not vaccinated, the virus can get inside, and can cause substantial illness,” Dr. Javaid said. By contrast, he added, “If you’re vaccinated, you have a much higher chance of surviving the illness and staying healthy, overall.”
The Provincetown case proved that. It’s been closely monitored by both the CDC and local health officials on Cape Cod, where it happened. The town manager tweeted that out of the roughly 900 cases, there were no deaths, seven hospitalizations, and mostly mild symptoms, because most of the people were vaccinated.
In New York, Friday was the first day that the city offered $100 debit cards to people getting their first dose of vaccine. Mayor Bill de Blasio’s press secretary tweeted that the city saw an uptick in cases.
Around 4 p.m., he reported 2,100 first vaccinations in which $100 debit cards had been issued. Many city-run vaccination centers closed at 6 p.m., so the number was likely to be higher.
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Also, there are dozens of vaccination sites that are not operated by the city government, which administered doses on Friday, as well.