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'Breakthrough' cases rising in LA, but the vaccinated still strongly protected, data show

Luke Money, Los Angeles Times on

Published in News & Features

LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles County has seen a rise in "breakthrough" coronavirus cases as of late, but data continue to show those who are vaccinated for COVID-19 enjoy vigorous protection — even from the contagious delta variant — and are far less likely to be hospitalized should they become infected.

The latest figures underscore how the county's recent coronavirus surge is different from the pandemic's earlier spikes, both in terms of who is getting sick and how the virus is spreading countywide.

In June, fully vaccinated residents made up 20% of all confirmed coronavirus infections in those 16 and older, according to figures from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.

However, that same month, they accounted for only 8% of all COVID-19 hospitalizations.

That trend has persisted into July. Over the first half of the month, roughly 26% of all diagnosed cases were in fully vaccinated residents, according to figures county Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer presented this week.

This means unvaccinated residents still accounted for almost three times as many infections, even though they've been a minority of the population since the start of the month.


And despite the uptick in post-vaccination "breakthrough" cases, the proportion of those people becoming sick enough to require hospitalization over the early part of this month remained essentially flat from June.

"Although vaccinated people are seeing a rise in new COVID diagnosis, they are primarily experiencing their infections not as severe illnesses that bring them to the emergency room, but as bad colds," Ferrer said this week.

Those who are unvaccinated, she continued, "simply do not have the same level of confidence if they get infected with this virus that it will lead to mild illness."

Out of the 504 people who died of COVID-19 countywide from April 1 to June 30, 96% were either unvaccinated or had not completed their inoculation regimen, data show.


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