MIAMI – A Miami-Dade County commissioner went to a hospital Monday after reporting COVID symptoms. It’s still unclear if he was the victim of the new more contagious Delta variant, the dominant strain in the U.S.
Jose “Pepe” Diaz, the commission’s chairman, and Isidoro Lopez, his chief of staff, tested positive. Diaz checked himself in at Jackson Memorial Hospital with trouble breathing. He has been resting at home since Monday night.
Diaz and Lopez said they were both vaccinated against COVID-19. Diaz is said to have had Pfizer doses in February and March.
They had been working near Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava, search crews, and other leaders at the site of the Surfside building collapse. Those who had been in close contact with Diaz and Lopez have been tested, the mayor said.
Dr. Aileen Marty, an infectious disease expert with Florida International University, said those who are vaccinated should still remain cautious. She said COVID-19 vaccines are effective, but there are some people who while fully vaccinated will still get sick.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention refers to these as vaccine breakthrough cases and the agency is working with state and local health departments to identify patterns.
As of July 6, the CDC received reports of 5,186 patients with COVID-19 vaccine breakthrough infections. According to the CDC, 4,909 were hospitalized and 988 died.
Marty said this shouldn’t dissuade anyone from receiving the COVID vaccine since it still protects against hospitalization.
“The vaccine is a way to prepare your body ahead of time,” Marty said comparing it to hurricane season preparations.
An Associated Press analysis last month of available government data from May showed that “breakthrough” infections in fully vaccinated people accounted for fewer than 1,200 of more than 107,000 COVID-19 hospitalizations. That’s about 1.1%.
And only about 150 of the more than 18,000 COVID-19 deaths in May were in fully vaccinated people. That translates to about 0.8%, or five deaths per day on average.
Erin Michelle Newberg, a Miami-Dade County resident, said she received the Pfizer vaccine months ago and was diagnosed with COVID last week. Israeli researchers found the Pfizer vaccine is less effective against Delta infections.
“So many of you expressed your friends who are vaxed are sick,” Newberg wrote on Instagram. “Yep. this vax allegedly subsides symptoms. false. not for me at least.”
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