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Breakthrough Deaths Are 59% of All Maine COVID-19 Deaths, 10/15-10/22.

Maine Breakthrough Deaths Are 59% of All Maine COVID-19 Deaths, 10/15-10/22/21.

Posted by Edmund R. Folsom

October 23, 2021.

Last week, breakthrough COVID-19 deaths of the fully vaccinated were 13 of Maine’s 22 deaths with COVID-19.  That’s 59% of Maine’s COVID-19 deaths recorded between 10/15 – 10/22. This is up from the preceding week when breakthrough deaths comprised 12 of Maine’s 24 deaths with COVID-19, or 50%. Since I began tracking weekly breakthrough-case increases, beginning October 1, 41 of Maine’s 90 recorded deaths with COVID-19 — 45.5% — have been breakthroughs among the fully vaccinated.

The U.S. CDC has provided information regarding the level of protection against COVID-19 infection, hospitalization and death that we can expect from vaccination.  In a study released in August, from Los Angeles County, they reported a 5-fold increase in protection against infection and 29.2-fold increase in protection against hospitalization.  In a broader study released in September, they reported a 5-fold increase in protection against infection, and a greater than 10-fold increase in protection against hospitalization and death for the vaccinated.  Last week, in Maine, using a 67%/33% vaccinated to unvaccinated ratio, an unvaccinated person was only 1.4 times more likely than a fully vaccinated person to die with COVID-19.

Between October 1 and October 22, breakthrough hospitalizations were 42% of all COVID-19 hospitalizations (84 of 200) and breakthrough deaths were 45.5% of all COVID-19 deaths (41 of 90). For that period, assuming the same 67%/33% vaccinated/unvaccinated ratio for Maine’s population throughout, an unvaccinated person was only 2.8 times more likely to become hospitalized and only 2.4 times as likely to die with COVID-19 than a fully vaccinated person.

I have only kept track of the increase in breakthrough COVID-19 infections over the past week, 10/15-10/22.  During this period, breakthrough infections comprised 33.9% of all new infections (1,084 of 3,195).  An unvaccinated person was about 3.9 times as likely to be infected as a fully vaccinated person, substantially less (by about 20%) than the 5-fold protection reported in the CDC studies referenced above.  This 3.9-fold protection level is close to the 4.1-fold protection level against infection reflected in numbers from Massachusetts for the period 9/20 – 10/18/21.

As John Lennon once said: “And that’s reality.”

UPDATE 10/30/21.  Updated information from Maine’s CDC shows that breakthrough COVID deaths fell over the past week (10/22-10/28) to only 48.9% of all COVID deaths (23 of 47). Breakthrough deaths did, however, rise in absolute numbers from the previous week when COVID deaths were 59% of all Maine deaths with COVID (13 of 22). For the period 10/1-10/28, breakthrough hospitalizations were 41.57% of all COVID hospitalizations (116 of 279) and breakthrough deaths were 46.7% of all COVID deaths (64 of 137). Using a vaccinated/unvaccinated population ratio of 67%/33% for the 10/1-10/28 period, the unvaccinated in Maine were 2.85 times more likely to be hospitalized with COVID and 2.3 times more likely to die with COVID than the vaccinated.

In a British study recently published in The Lancet, unvaccinated people were no more likely than vaccinated people to infect fellow household members with the delta variant of SARS CoV-2.


Note:  In the original post, I stated that the number representing the percentage of fully vaccinated people in Maine had recently been rolled back from something near 70% to something just under 67%. In fact, a review of news stories throughout October shows that the Maine CDC has consistently reported a lower number than the numbers reported by Johns Hopkins Medical School and the Mayo Clinic; sources frequently referenced to compare and rank the percentages of fully vaccinated people among the 50 states. What appeared to me to be a rollback in Maine’s reported number of fully vaccinated residents was an illusion resulting from inconsistencies between reporting sources.