A closer look at Georgia’s unvaccinated problem

New numbers from Georgia’s Department of Public Health show nearly all new COVID-19 cases and deaths in the state in the past seven months were among unvaccinated people. 

The DPH looked at what it calls “breakthrough cases.” That’s people who got sick and in very few cases died, even though they were fully vaccinated. 

Comparing those numbers to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention records of COVID-19 cases and deaths,a little more than 98% of the over 335,000 COVID cases recorded in the study period were among the unvaccinated. 

The same is true with COVID deaths. Over 99% of the 9,000-plus people who died of the disease in the past seven months were also unvaccinated.

Additionally, every one of the 24 breakthrough deaths was of someone older than 60. Over half of them, 15 total, were older than 80.

Georgia DPH said it plans weekly updates of breakthrough COVID-19 numbers. 

Meanwhile, almost all of Georgia’s counties fall under renewed CDC guidance for mask-wearing. 

That new advice is that even vaccinated people should wear masks indoors in areas of the state with over 50 cases per 100,000 people in the past week or with COVID-19 test positivity rates of 8% or higher.

The guidance comes as about 30 Georgia counties are seeing rapidly rising rates of infection among school-aged children.

HOW TO GET VACCINATED: COVID-19 has killed more than 30,000 Georgia residents. Don’t let yourself or your loved ones die from a preventable virus. COVID vaccines are free and widely available statewide without insurance or identification. To find a vaccination location or to schedule an appointment, visit https://dph.georgia.gov/covid-vaccine.

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This story comes to The Georgia Sun through a reporting partnership with GA Today, a non-profit newsroom focused on reporting in Georgia.

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