I Was Part of the July Fourth Provincetown "Breakthrough" COVID Cluster. It's Been a Sobering Experience.

slate.com
5 min read
fairly easy
My "hot vax summer" has cooled into a season of confusion and dread.
Coronavirus Diaries is a series of dispatches exploring how the coronavirus is affecting people's lives.

Last Thursday, an internal slide presentation leaked from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed that the delta variant of the coronavirus is even more contagious than previously thought—more communicable than Ebola and the common cold, as spreadable as the chickenpox. While vaccines appear to remain strong against the virus, new evidence suggests that fully vaccinated people with so-called breakthrough infections may be every bit as infectious as those yet to receive their shots, even if their own cases remain relatively mild. According to a report the agency released on Friday, the CDC's latest findings were based on a July 4 COVID-19 outbreak in queer mecca Provincetown, Massachusetts, where among a cluster of 469 (with no deaths) at the time of study, an astonishing three-quarters of the infected had been fully vaccinated. As of July 31, the P-Town outbreak had ballooned to 965 cases.

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I was one of them.

This year, my partner and I were among thousands from all over the country who descended on Provincetown in early July. As for many, this was to be our government-approved "hot vax summer," when masks came off and inhibitions could finally breathe again. We were going to get our dance on, and when we arrived out at the beautiful tip of Cape Cod, the mood was aptly exuberant. Indoor restaurant reservations had to be made more than a week in advance. Revelers crowded maskless into iconic dance clubs like the Atlantic House and the Crown & Anchor. "The last time I saw this kind of joy in P-Town," a friend quipped, "was the year Truvada [the HIV prevention drug] came out."

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It was about halfway through our weeklong stay when one vaccinated friend from New York City began to report not feeling well. Unable to stop coughing, he and his boyfriend drove to Outer Cape Health Services,…
Joel Rozen
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