CDC no longer tracking all ‘breakthrough’ COVID-19 cases

After attending an outdoor wedding in Snohomish County, Chuck Wotipka was informed several people had tested positive for COVID-19 in the days that followed. Wotipka was vaccinated, so he figured his odds of becoming sick were low.

And then the symptoms hit him. “I was pretty much bedridden with extreme fever, stuffy nose, sore throat, just like a very bad case of the flu,” he said. Soon, he discovered he is among a growing number of people with “breakthrough” COVID-19 cases (those fully vaccinated and still got sick).

He was even more unpleasantly surprised that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does not track breakthrough cases like his unless there is a hospitalization. “For the general public to understand that more people are getting sick is really irrelevant information,” he said. “But if I’m a vaccinated person, and I understand there are a significant number of people like me getting sick, I might take more precautions because I think we all become a little more complacent after becoming vaccinated.”

The Snohomish County’s health district told KIRO 7 News it does track breakthrough COVID-19 cases and collects details it doesn’t  publish on the website.

It tries to track which specific COVID-19 vaccines show up more often in breakthrough cases. The data shows over a three-week period between July 1 and July 20, there were 208 people infected with COVID-19 who were at least partially vaccinated —which equals 17% of all positive COVID-19 cases.

Its data for June shows if someone in Snohomish County is unvaccinated, they are 10 times more likely to become infected or die of COVID-19.

The CDC indicated on its website that it no longer has the staffing or resources to gather and process all data regarding breakthrough cases. Thus, it will concentrate on severe cases, hospitalizations and deaths. Wotipka believes more data regarding specific vaccines being involved in breakthrough cases   will be more than “fun facts.”

“More data, more information saves lives,” Wotipka said. “The more information we have, the better off we’ll all be.”