Bowser Briefing Raises Questions on Number of Delta Variant Breakthrough Infections

Bowser Briefing Raises Questions on Number of Delta Variant Breakthrough Infections

by Larry Janezich

Posted August 10, 2021

Many DC residents are wondering how many people who have been vaccinated are being infected with the Delta Variant – the so-called breakthrough infections.  Anecdotal evidence suggests the number is higher than the less than 1% suggested by the CDC, who admits the likelihood of undercounting.    

At Tuesday’s Situational Briefing where the Mayor announced that all city employees, contractors, interns and grantees must be vaccinated by September 19 (or be tested weekly) DC Health Department Director Dr. LaQuandra Nesbitt gave an update about DC’s experience with the virus.  The briefing raised a number of questions which Nesbitt did not address nor were they raised during the Q&A with the press in attendance. 

(Yesterday, the District’s reported Covid data included 137 new cases – a month ago, the number was 21.) 

Nesbitt made the following points:

  • There has been an increase in DC in the number of cases of Covid 19 in the 5 – 14 age population compared to last year, which now account for one out of every 10 new cases.
  • In the 12-13-14 age group who have the ability to be vaccinated, the vaccination rate of Black students is much lower that the vaccination rate for the White/Latino/Hispanic population.
  • The 25 – 34 year old age group is driving the number of cases, with no race meaningful racial disparity between the number of Blacks and Whites. (But…)
  • There is a “huge gap” in vaccine coverage for that age group with the rate of vaccination coverage for Blacks at one-half the rate of coverage of their White counterparts. (No explanation was given of why there should be this disparity.)
  • Latinos have great vaccination coverage compared with Black and White residents.
  • A majority of cases since the vaccine has been available is occurring in unvaccinated people. As in some other jurisdictions, there has been an increase in breakthrough cases over the past month.
  • Since the vaccine has been available, out of all of the hospitalized DC residents 1% – 2% of hospitalizations have been among those who are fully vaccinated – we have seen a “little bit of an uptick there”.
  • 90% of the people in hospitals are not vaccinated.  (No explanation given on the apparent uptick from 1-2% percent of vaccinated Covid patients to 10%.)
  • “The vaccine is absolutely worth it. We will all be better off.  The vaccine will prevent more viruses from taking over our community.” 

Bowser reiterated that free Covid testing is available at fire houses, recreation centers and other sites.  In addition, free test kits are available at 16 public libraries.  For more information, see here:

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