Many of these stories were based on data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which was obtained by The Washington Post and reported by a number of outlets last week. The CDC study, which examined a spread of unvaccinated and vaccinated people in Provincetown (Mass.), led to the revision of its mask guidelines.
However, the news about the findings was released before the actual data. The number of people infected with the virus was highlighted in the initial headlines and reports. Officials at the administration were concerned that social media posts and stories promoting them might hinder their efforts to convince people not vaccinated to get them.
First, they reacted on Twitter and then in a CNN report where aides vented their frustrations. Although it is possible for people who have been vaccinated to get a breakthrough infection, particularly from the Delta variant, and spread the virus like the unvaccinated as well, it is still extremely rare that they will become infected.
Everyone must get it right. Coverage that mischaracterizes breakthrough diseases is wrong and could lead to increased vaccine hesitancy. A White House official stated that this was a matter of public concern. We have been working closely with the media outlets that covered it and will continue to do so to ensure the American people get accurate information.
POLITICO obtained a seven-slide deck from the government for media briefings. It demonstrates that the virus we are fighting today is very different from the one we faced in May. The slide shows that the Delta variant accounts for 80 percent, whereas the 1 percent found in May spreads much more quickly.
For the administration, the most important point is that vaccines still work well and that increasing vaccinations will help the country get out of the Covid morass. The slide shows that the administration told reporters and news producers in briefings that breakthrough infections are to be expected but are very rare and almost all are mild cases. A Barnstable County, Mass., review of breakthrough cases between July 10 and July 26 showed that there were only 1%. Provincetown was the site of the outbreak. 1 percent of the breakthroughs led to hospitalization.
A slide passage says that the number of breakthrough infections is proportional to the percentage of people who have been vaccinated. However, this does not necessarily indicate that there are more breakthrough infections.
These slides also show the Covid situation in Britain: Between January-July, vaccinations in U.K. rose significantly. Even though the case count for the Delta variant was back to January by July, there were still many more hospitalizations and fewer deaths.
Similar background briefings have been held by the White House for media outlets about vaccines and viruses, including vaccination confidence. The sit-downs were framed as an opportunity to provide accurate and current information about a fast-moving topic. They gathered with TV reporters and producers in the days leading up to Sunday's shows. Bidens chief medical advisor, Anthony Fauci (ABC, CBS), and National Institute of Health Director Francis Collins, (CNN. Fox, MSNBC) were both on hand.
Some indications are that the administration's efforts to promote vaccination coverage are paying off. White House Covid-19 Data director Cyrus Shahpar stated Monday that the seven-day average number of Americans who have been vaccinated was at its highest level since July 4. The highest Covid cases rates in the United States have seen an increase in newly vaccinated persons per day in states like Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.