Breakthrough cases rare, vaccinated people shouldn’t panic, health experts say

ORLANDO, Fla. — Central Florida’s health leaders said while so-called “breakthrough” coronavirus cases are happening – and were expected to happen – the number is still incredibly small.

On average, less than 2% of positive tests are in vaccinated individuals, Orange County Health Director Dr. Raul Pino has repeatedly said. During his latest press conference, zero of the more than 500 positive tests were in vaccinated people.

READ: Report shows Florida accounts for 20% of new COVID-19 cases in the US

“For those who are waiting, what are you waiting for?” Pino asked.

That, combined with the lower than usual number of new hospitalizations, has convinced officials up and down the ladder that the vaccines deserved an extra PR push.

READ: How do you know if you have the delta variant; what are the symptoms?

“These vaccines are saving lives,” Gov. Ron DeSantis said, in some of his strongest pro-vaccine comments to date.

In his wide-ranging speech about the recent surge in cases, DeSantis also pushed back on local conversations about reimposing mask mandates. He said those discussions caused more problems than they solved.

READ: Orange County mayor urges all to wear masks inside crowded places as COVID-19 cases rise

“It’s telling them that the vaccines don’t work,” he said.” I think that’s the worst message you can send to people at this time. Because I think that the data has been really, really good.”

For the state’s vaccinated people, health experts said their concerns are about the virus’ ability to mutate further.

READ: Coronavirus: US life expectancy plunged 1.5 years in 2020 amid COVID-19 pandemic

However, since the current vaccines protect against even the Delta variant, they said now is not the time to panic.

“I don’t think it’s the time to panic,” Dr. Martinez explained. “It’s the time to be cautious. And it’s the time to be alert.”