About 30 days ago our Rako Science data modelling team noticed something new. Countries with high adult vaccination rates were experiencing rapid growth COVID-19 Delta variant outbreaks and surges. The Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and the United States all had steep increases in cases.
The good news is that hospitalisation and death rates are order of magnitude lower - vaccines are great for reducing the risks of serious COVID-19 disease. Get vaccinated now if you can! The bad news is that it points to the possibility that, with the more infectious Delta variant, vaccinated people are still catching COVID-19 and they are infectious and spreading it to both vaccinated and unvaccinated people. Last weekend, a Massachusetts pre-print study was released on the US CDC site and it found 74% of infections occurred in fully vaccinated people and viral load were the same in vaccinated people as those that were not. Here is the link to the pre-print.
New Zealand's fully vaccinated border workers can catch the Delta variant and they can spread it. With Delta, the risk of border outbreaks must have increased. And, more broadly, vaccination remains incredibly important but it may no longer be able to deliver herd immunity. The policy consequences of this are massive. Vaccination remains extremely important if not more important with Delta. And high sensitivity, high frequency testing is now more important than ever for protecting the team of five million while vaccination rates are low AND for protecting vulnerable communities and people when they are high.
Rako Science has a data science and modelling arm [CloseAssociate] and in May 2020 we deployed a new method for calculating effective reproduction numbers in countries, states and counties all over the globe using Johns Hopkins daily case data.
PS If you have read this far, my apologies for the pun in the headline.