by Steve Haner
In just four weeks ending January 8, more than 12% of unvaccinated Virginians have been diagnosed with COVID-19. In the most recent week reported, the unvaccinated were almost 60 times more likely to come down with the disease than those current on their shots. This is new.
This Omicron version is clearly a different animal. Breakthrough cases among the vaccinated are also jumping, but in four weeks just over one-half of one percent of that group was diagnosed with the disease, 624 cases per 100,000 people. Compare that to 12,368 cases per 100,000 among the unvaccinated.
This all comes from the data posted today at the Virginia Department of Health’s dashboard, the tab for data by vaccination status. You can see on the chart reproduced at the top how the case count among the unvaccinated exploded in those weeks. The slope since the arrival of Omicron is undeniable.
I’d seen the data for the week ending January 1 (226 vaccinated versus 4,468 unvaccinated) but wanted to see a second week before writing. The January 8 weekly count published today was 89 versus 5,222. There is every reason to believe that pattern will hold through the Omicron wave.
In the same four weeks, only 9 vaccinated persons per 100,000 ended up in the hospital, compared to 223 per 100,000 among the unvaccinated. It is too soon to speak about deaths, but so far they are not spiking. Again, Omicron is proving less severe for people in all categories than earlier versions, overall, but as they say, “individual results may vary.”
As some of you may have gleaned from comments on earlier stories, I am now coming down off one of those breakthrough cases. I think I know which restaurant in San Antonio brought me the virus with my Guy Fieri-endorsed pancakes, as I could see the place was packed and the staff totally mask-less. I fully credit my three Pfizer shots for making this nothing but a typical (yet very real) cold. Only a positive test at my doc’s office convinced me it was COVID.
With my age and history it could have been serious, shots notwithstanding, and my physician really wanted me to get a course of the new Pfizer antiviral pills. He’s seen remarkable results with others, basically a 24-hour end of symptoms. But the pills are not available through retail pharmacies in the region, perhaps due to demand and perhaps due to intentional rationing for whatever purposes.
Bottom line, folks: get the shots. Unless you just want to believe the government is outright lying, the data is overpowering now: your chances of getting sick, and if sick of facing a severe case, drop to almost nothing. If the lottery had these odds, we’d all be buying tickets.