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Mayor Bowser and DC Health Release Comprehensive COVID-19 Data on Breakthrough Cases and Variants

Thursday, July 22, 2021

(Washington, DC) – Today, Mayor Bowser and DC Health released comprehensive data about breakthrough COVID-19 cases in DC, adding a new dashboard to Breakthrough COVID-19 cases are defined as the positive detection of COVID-19 in an individual who is fully vaccinated. Public health officials, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), remind the public that breakthrough cases are expected, as no vaccines are 100% effective at preventing illness in vaccinated people. The COVID-19 vaccines remain a critical tool for saving lives, reducing the severity of the illness in infected people, and stopping the spread of COVID-19.

“As we get more data about fully vaccinated people, the message couldn’t be clearer: don’t wait, vaccinate,” said Mayor Bowser. “We know, and the data continues to show us, that the COVID-19 vaccines are incredibly effective, they are safe, they are keeping people out of the hospital, and they are saving lives.”

The CDC has shared that breakthrough cases occur in only a small percentage of vaccinated people. Severe illness from COVID-19 is rare in fully vaccinated people. From January 2021 when less than 1% of the total DC population was fully vaccinated to June 2021 when over 50% of the total DC population was fully vaccinated, DC has seen a 95% decline in COVID-related deaths. All DC residents 12 and older are urged to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

The District’s dashboard on breakthrough cases provides information about:

  • Total cases, broken down by week and type of vaccine
  • Demographic data, broken down by age range, gender, race, and ethnicity
  • Time since fully vaccinated
  • Medical overview, including whether infected individuals were symptomatic or asymptomatic, whether individuals were hospitalized, and lives lost

Current data shows that of 375,988 fully vaccinated individuals, DC has recorded 200 breakthrough cases, or just 0.05% of all fully vaccinated individuals. The dashboard on breakthrough cases will be updated every other week on Thursdays.

According to the CDC, approximately 45% of new cases in HHS Region 3, which includes DC, are due to the Delta variant. To date, 1,613 DC samples have been sequenced by the DC Public Health Lab and private laboratories. Of those samples, 495 are B.1.1.7 (31%, Alpha), 27 are P.1 (2%, Gamma), 17 are B.1.351 (1%, Beta), and 16 are B.1.617.2 (1%, Delta), with the remaining being wild-type. In order to increase variant surveillance, DC Health recently introduced rules which require clinical laboratories to sequence additional COVID-19 positive samples or submit samples to the DC Public Health Lab for sequencing.

Residents can find the closest available vaccination location at or by texting their zip code to GETVAX (438829) in English or VACUNA (822862) in Spanish. Residents who are unable to leave home to get vaccinated can call 1-855-363-0333 to make an appointment for a free at-home vaccination.