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Before Provincetown, health officials had been operating under the assumption that it was extraordinarily rare for a vaccinated person to become infected with the virus. And if they did, they probably wouldn't end up passing it on to others, such as children too young to qualify for the vaccine or people who were medically vulnerable.
The idea that vaccines halt transmission of the virus was largely behind the
CDC's decision in May suggesting vaccinated people could safely go without their masks indoors and in crowds, even if others were unvaccinated.
+ MORE: Biden to encourage vaccine incentives, announce requirements for federal workers
But that assumption had been based on studies of earlier versions of the virus. Delta was known for its "hyper-transmissibility," or as one former
White House adviser put it "COVID on steroids."
"What has changed is the virus," said Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert and Biden's chief medical adviser.
When a vaccinated person gets infected with delta called a "breakthrough infection" "the level of virus in their nasopharynx is about 1,000 times higher than with the alpha variant," Fauci said in an interview Wednesday with MSNBC.
All indications now are that the Provincetown outbreak investigation is among the pieces of new evidence behind the CDC's decision to ask
Americans to once again put on their masks indoors, even if they are vaccinated.
Before Provincetown, health officials had been operating under the assumption that it was extraordinarily rare for a vaccinated person to become infected with the virus. And if they did, they probably wouldn't end up passing it on to others, such as children too young to qualify for the vaccine or people who were medically vulnerable. The idea that vaccines halt transmission of the virus was largely behind the CDC's decision in May suggesting vaccinated people could safely go without their masks indoors and in crowds, even if others were unvaccinated. + MORE: Biden to encourage vaccine incentives, announce requirements for federal workers But that assumption had been based on studies of earlier versions of the virus. Delta was known for its "hyper-transmissibility," or as one former White House adviser put it "COVID on steroids." "What has changed is the virus," said Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert and Biden's chief medical adviser. When a vaccinated person gets infected with delta called a "breakthrough infection" "the level of virus in their nasopharynx is about 1,000 times higher than with the alpha variant," Fauci said in an interview Wednesday with MSNBC. All indications now are that the Provincetown outbreak investigation is among the pieces of new evidence behind the CDC's decision to ask Americans to once again put on their masks indoors, even if they are vaccinated.