Vaccines save Provincetown after COVID outbreak that triggered CDC mask U-turn

Vaccines save Provincetown after COVID outbreak that triggered CDC mask U-turn
Vaccines save Provincetown after COVID outbreak that triggered CDC mask U-turn

Andrew Sullivan, an influential journalist and Provincetown resident, said COVID-19 outbreak in his town that infected around 900 people and triggered CDC's mask U-turn was sparked by wild July 4 indoor parties

Andrew Sullivan, an influential journalist and Provincetown resident, said COVID-19 outbreak in his town that infected around 900 people and triggered CDC's mask U-turn was sparked by wild July 4 indoor parties

A journalist who lives at the epicenter of the United States' latest Delta COVID cluster said of the virus 'Let it rip' after seeing how mild his vaccinated friends' symptoms were. 

Columnist Andrew Sullivan says the COVID-19 outbreak in Provincetown, Massachusetts, that infected around 900 people and triggered CDC's mask U-turn was sparked by wild July 4 indoor parties following Pride Week. 

This outbreak was behind the CDC's sudden backpedal on mask recommendations for vaccinated Americans to wear masks in indoor places in COVID hot spots.

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The small town at the tip of Cape Cod - with a population of about 3,000 - is known for its eccentric and LGBTQ-friendly party atmosphere that Sullivan said attracts upwards of 40,000 people during the peak season.  

Walking through the fishing and whale watching town has a Bourbon Street, New Orleans-feel. 

People walking through Provincetown at the tip of Cape Cod, Massachusetts on July 20

People walking through Provincetown at the tip of Cape Cod, Massachusetts on July 20 

A sign on a P-town's Heaven Cafe encourages customers to wear masks until they're seated

A sign on a P-town's Heaven Cafe encourages customers to wear masks until they're seated

Dressed as Maxine the Vaccine, Poppy Champlin encourages pedestrians to get vaccinated for Covid-19 while promoting her comedy show on Commercial Street in Provincetown

Dressed as Maxine the Vaccine, Poppy Champlin encourages pedestrians to get vaccinated for Covid-19 while promoting her comedy show on Commercial Street in Provincetown 

Sullivan said many had just come from Pride parties in New York City and packed into bars and dance clubs. 

One of the bars is like a 'dang dungeon where sweat drips from the ceiling and mold reaches up the walls,' Sullivan said. 

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'It might have been designed for viral transmission,' he added. 

But all the friends he described in his post on The Weekly Dish experienced mild symptoms after testing positive. 

Town Manager Andrew Morse confirmed that most of the 900 people connected to the Provincetown COVID outbreak had mild symptoms. Only seven were hospitalized and no one died, Morse said. 

He said the town is safe and back to normal heading into August.  

Brent Thomas, dressed as historic figure, Anne Hutchinson, leads a tour through Provincetown, MA on July 24, 2021

Brent Thomas, dressed as historic figure, Anne Hutchinson, leads a tour through Provincetown, MA on July 24, 2021

Only four of the vaccinated people were hospitalized, two of whom had underlying conditions, and there were no deaths showing vaccines are effective even against the Delta variant, which now makes up 83% of all new infections

Only four of the vaccinated people were hospitalized, two of whom had underlying conditions, and there were no deaths showing vaccines are effective even against the Delta variant, which now makes up 83% of all new infections

A new CDC report detailed 469 cases of COVID-19 linked to an outbreak in Provincetown, Massachusetts between July 3 and July 17, of which 74% were in fully vaccinated people

A new CDC report detailed 469 cases of COVID-19 linked to an outbreak in Provincetown, Massachusetts between July 3 and July 17, of which 74% were in fully vaccinated people

Pedestrians walk down Commercial Street on May 25, 2020 in Provincetown

Pedestrians walk down Commercial Street on May 25, 2020 in Provincetown

In a good-news-bad-news situation, it's scary to think that around three-quarters of the people who contracted the virus were vaccinated, but the outbreak is proof that vaccines are effective. 

Dr. Ashish Jha, an epidemiologist and dean of public health at Brown University, said in a nine-tweet thread that he felt the situation was 'reassuring.'

While the Delta variant is 'more contagious than Ebola, Spanish Flu and probably chicken pox' causing breakthrough cases in vaccinated people, the 'vaccines prevent vast majority of infections, transmission and nearly all hospitalizations (and) deaths,' Dr. Jha Tweeted. 

'Yeah, delta variant is bad. Like really bad. Our vaccines are good. Like really good. Breakthrough infections happen. Sometimes they may spread to others. But if enough people get the shot, the pandemic does come to an end.'

Provincetown: How July 4 weekend turned the partygoing playground of New England into the center of a Covid cluster
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