Amid the good news that the COVID-19 vaccines currently being administered in the U.S. cover known variants and that social distancing and mask mandates are being phased out, there’s potentially grim news from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While the problem is so rare that it’s unlikely to dissuade health officials and legislators, there were at least 10,262 confirmed breakthrough cases of COVID-19 between January 1 and April 30 of this year according to research just published in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. We say “at least” because the CDC is quick to acknowledge that there have likely been many more, given that 27% of the known cases involved patients who were asymptomatic. One hundred-sixty of those patients (2%) died, while 995 (almost 10%) were hospitalized. Given estimates of 95% effectiveness, it’s expected that rare breakthrough cases will continue to be seen. As such, patients should be counseled to continue following CDC recommendations as they evolve.

Mask Mandates Are Going Away—but Don’t Sound the All-Clear Just Yet