CDC on COVID-19 Cases and Hospitalizations in California, New York in 2021

On January 19, 2022 the CDC issued an Early Release of their Mortality and Morbidity Weekly report. Of course, you would have expected it to conclude that “Primary vaccination, additional doses, and booster doses are recommended for all eligible persons.

But, there was a very interesting statement that preceded this conclusion. “By early October, persons who survived a previous infection had lower case rates than persons who were vaccinated alone.

One of the 4 cohorts studied was “unvaccinated with a previous COVID-19 diagnosis”. The MMWR report states, “By the week beginning October 3, compared with COVID-19 cases rates among unvaccinated persons without a previous COVID-19 diagnosis, case rates among vaccinated persons without a previous COVID-19 diagnosis were 6.2-fold (California) and 4.5-fold (New York) lower; rates were substantially lower among both groups with previous COVID-19 diagnoses, including 29.0-fold (California) and 14.7-fold lower (New York) among unvaccinated persons with a previous diagnosis, and 32.5-fold (California) and 19.8-fold lower (New York) among vaccinated persons with a previous diagnosis of COVID-19. During the same period, compared with hospitalization rates among unvaccinated persons without a previous COVID-19 diagnosis, hospitalization rates in California followed a similar pattern.  

So, if you already had COVID-19 you were already about 4 times less likely to be reinfected and hospitalized than if you did not ever have COVID-19 and were vaccinated. Vaccination for previously infected individuals achieved protection from reinfection and hospitalization that was just slightly greater than protection that remained without ever being vaccinated

This is finally recognition of natural immunity.

From the Discussion section of the report, “Case rates were initially lowest among vaccinated persons without a previous COVID-19 diagnosis; however, after emergence of the Delta variant and over the course of time, incidence increased sharply in this group, but only slightly among both vaccinated and unvaccinated persons with previously diagnosed COVID-19. Across the entire study period, persons with vaccine- and infection-derived immunity had much lower rates of hospitalization compared with those in unvaccinated persons. These results suggest that vaccination protects against COVID-19 and related hospitalization and that surviving a previous infection protects against a reinfection. Importantly, infection-derived protection was greater after the highly transmissible Delta variant became predominant, coinciding with early declining of vaccine-induced immunity in many persons.” 

As a result of this study, it is questionable if there is now any merit at all to vaccine mandates by the Federal government, states or private employers that apply to individuals who have already had COVID-19 as evidenced by previous testing and recovery or by antibody testing.

By November 30, 2021, approximately 130,781 COVID-19–associated deaths, one in six of all U.S. deaths from COVID-19, had occurred in California and New York. 

Primary COVID-19 vaccination, additional doses, and booster doses are recommended by CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices to ensure that all eligible persons are up to date with COVID-19 vaccination, which provides the most robust protection against initial infection, severe illness, hospitalization, long-term sequelae, and death.

Similar data accounting for booster doses and as new variants, including Omicron, circulate will need to be assessed. Additional recommendations for vaccine doses might be warranted in the future as the virus and immunity levels change.”

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Greg Plotner

Greg Plotner, Principal of Experience 4 Hire LLC, has lived in Houston for 35+ years. Utilizing his expertise in the computer software business and staffing for primarily the oil & gas industry, he provides assistance to executives and professionals who are now in a career search or seeking to make a career transition. He is a member of the Katy Christian Chamber of Commerce and his blog (started in June 2021 while in Facebook jail) can be found at