Massachusetts authorities reported on Tuesday that, in the last week, the region recorded 3,919 new breakthrough cases of the coronavirus and 32 new deaths, bringing the total death toll to over 18,000, marking the worsening of the health crisis in the area.

Officials reported that 61 vaccinated individuals were hospitalized after being infected with the coronavirus. The Massachusetts Department of Public health has recorded a total of 27,777 COVID-19 cases in the region with 194 deaths, all among vaccinated residents.

Surge of Breakthrough COVID-19 Cases

Despite the surge of breakthrough cases, the recent infections account for only a small portion of the total number of vaccinated individuals. Among inoculated residents, only 0.02% have been hospitalized among the 0.61% who have been infected by the virus. Officials reported that even fewer vaccinated people have died, which is recorded as 0.004%.

The report also did not detail whether or not the vaccinated individuals who acquired the virus had underlying medical conditions. It also noted that the statistics may be inaccurate due to "discrepancies" in records, NBC Boston reported.

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Despite many vaccinated residents still getting infected with the coronavirus, the affected individuals develop mild symptoms compared to unvaccinated people who are more at risk of developing severe symptoms. Inoculated residents are also less likely to get hospitalized or die from the virus. This has been the argument that health officials worldwide have been using to urge people to take the vaccines as soon as possible to curb the spread of the pandemic.

Hospitals in the region have recorded a massive surge of new patients being admitted since the Fourth of July holiday. The number of coronavirus patients skyrocketed from only 80 on July 4 to more than 675 as of Monday. Officials also revealed that the hospitalizations in the region have increased from 85 on July 9 to 624 in recent days, WCVB reported.

Boosters Shots for the Coronavirus Vaccines

The situation comes as Massachusetts residents eagerly await the booster shots for the coronavirus vaccines. Gov. Charlie Baker is optimistic in getting guidelines regarding the process during a Tuesday call with federal officials. The official said that queries regarding the COVID-19 vaccine booster shots served as a "good example of an issue that's been all over the place in the media, through no fault of the media."

In August, federal officials announced plans to give residents the capability to receive booster shots. American adults who have been vaccinated with either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines are the focused target of the process. The booster shots were planned to be administered starting on Sept. 20. However, with the date approaching, it remains unclear whether or not the booster shots will be authorized and who they will be allowed to be given to as a Food and Drug Administration panel is set to meet on Friday to discuss vaccine data from Pfizer.

"Most of us had heard from the feds several months ago that it would be 2022 before there was any real traction on this. There's been some talk recently that it might happen a lot sooner than that," Baker said. The governor plans to utilize his administration to smoothen out the distribution of the vaccine to residents, in the region that is one of several states that has fully vaccinated more than two-thirds of its residents, WHDH reported.

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