CDC says vaccinated people can largely skip testing, shares new breakthrough case count 

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The CDC updated its COVID-19 testing guidance for vaccinated people last week and shared a new tally on the small number of people who've been hospitalized or died from the virus after being fully vaccinated. 

On May 17, the agency said fully vaccinated people with no symptoms do not need to get tested for COVID-19, even if they were exposed to someone with the virus.

The change in guidance reflects a shift in the nation's pandemic strategy, as the country moves from testing and tracing to vaccinations as the main mechanism to control the virus. As of May 23, 49.2 percent of the population has received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose and 39 percent are fully vaccinated, according to the CDC

Of the more than 123 million people fully vaccinated as of May 17, just 1,949 breakthrough cases involving hospitalizations or death had been reported to the CDC. 

Three more findings:

  • Ninety-three percent of cases involved hospitalizations. Of these, 25 percent involved people who were asymptomatic and hospitalized for reasons not related to COVID-19.

  • Eighteen percent of all reported cases were fatal. Of these deaths, 18 percent involved people who were asymptomatic and died for reasons unrelated to the virus. 

  • In total, 79 percent of all reported cases involved people aged 65 or older.

The new data comes after the CDC changed how it tracks breakthrough COVID-19 cases among fully vaccinated Americans. As of early May, the agency only monitors the most severe cases. 

To view the CDC's full testing guidance, click here.

To view the CDC's information on breakthrough cases, click here.

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