This 900-person delta cluster in Mass. has CDC freaked out—74% are vaccinated

Foot traffic along Commercial Street in Provincetown, Mass., on July 20, 2021. Provincetown officials have issued a new mask-wearing advisory for indoors, regardless of vaccination status, on the latest data showing that Provincetown COVID cases are increasing.

Enlarge / Foot traffic along Commercial Street in Provincetown, Mass., on July 20, 2021. Provincetown officials have issued a new mask-wearing advisory for indoors, regardless of vaccination status, on the latest data showing that Provincetown COVID cases are increasing. (credit: Getty | Boston Globe)

An analysis of a COVID-19 cluster of around 900 people in Massachusetts—74 percent of whom are vaccinated—is among the alarming data that spurred the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to reverse course on masks this week.

According to an internal CDC document first obtained by The Washington Post, data on the Provincetown, Massachusetts, cluster showed that vaccinated people carried surprisingly high levels of the delta coronavirus in their noses and throats. More importantly, vaccinated people were found to be spreading the dangerous virus variant to other vaccinated people. Nationwide, the CDC estimated that there are 35,000 symptomatic breakthrough infections per week among 162 million fully vaccinated Americans.

The CDC document overall highlights that delta is extremely contagious—much more so than previous versions of the virus, as well as the common cold or even the seasonal flu. Delta is more in line with the contagiousness of chickenpox, the CDC document said.

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