All the Ways That “1 in 5,000 per Day” Breakthrough Infection Stat Is Nonsense

On Sept. 9, President Joe Biden announced a new set of pandemic response policies. In the process, he said that 1 in 5,000 vaccinated people become infected by SARS-CoV-2 each day. He was citing David Leonhardt’s New York Times newsletter. Biden and Leonhardt frame the statistic as encouraging: only 1 in 5,000. But it isn’t good news or bad news. It’s essentially meaningless. What’s more important is knowing that when community spread of the coronavirus is high, the risk of breakthrough infection needs to be taken seriously, which means combining vaccination with other public health measures. Advertisement Let’s take a look at ...

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