The Cape Cod Town That Provided an Important Case Study of the Delta Variant

By the Fourth of July, Provincetown, Massachusetts thought they had beat COVID-19.

The beach community at the tip of Cape Cod was humming along at near pre-pandemic levels, with restaurants filling up and lines forming for entrance to dance clubs amid a sense of relief that life was getting back to normal.

Provincetown is a quirky community known as a vacation mecca for gay men amid residents of health-conscious, left-leaning Americans. The town manager said Provincetown was the most vaccinated community in the state at 95% among permanent residents.

Now the outbreak that stemmed from the holiday that drew 60,000 people to crowd together has led the CDC to cite the cluster of infections as key to the decision to issue new mask guidance to the vaccinated.

Scientists traced 965 cases to gatherings in Provincetown, and 238 of those cases were among the residents.

According to the CDC report released on Friday, July 30, almost three quarters of the Massachusetts residents infected were vaccinated with either the Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

  • For the most part, the infected were not seriously ill.
  • No deaths were reported.
  • Seven people were hospitalized.

Infectious disease experts praised the meticulous contact tracing, primarily carried out by four nurses in the county.

By July 15, the positivity rate reached a peak of 15%, and town officials issued an advisory four days later to mask indoors, and by July 25, indoor masking was mandated. On July 29, the positivity rate had dropped to 4.6%. The mask mandate will revert to an advisory and be lifted if it remains low.

Full story at New York Times

CDC report here