The unsettling uncertainty of a breakthrough case

Photo by SAEED KHAN/AFP via Getty Images

Last weekend, a close friend texted me with the jarring news that her COVID-19 test had come back positive. She was vaccinated and had been since April. She got her first shot just a few days before I got mine.

Before I got that text, I’d been reminding my friends and family that some people who get vaccinated are going to get COVID-19 anyway. Vaccines aren’t perfect. I cautioned that when cases are surging, like they are right now in New York City, the raw number of vaccinated people who get sick is going to go up. Unvaccinated people still face even higher risks of catching the disease.

I know all of that. I think about those facts and statistics every day when I’m reading studies and checking transmission levels around the country….

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