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Doctor: Mild COVID-19 breakthrough cases expected as surge continues

Gov. Hogan tests positive
Posted at 4:55 PM, Dec 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-20 17:13:27-05

BALTIMORE (WMAR) — As the COVID-19 case surge continues, Governor Larry Hogan tested positive. He received a positive rapid test Monday morning as part of his testing routine. He is vaccinated and boosted and feeling fine at the moment.

A Johns Hopkins lung doctor said mild breakthrough cases are expected because the vaccines are only meant to prevent severe infection but are still the best defense we have.

“The vaccine is like wearing a bike helmet. It doesn’t prevent you falling, it just prevents a severe and serious health outcome from occurring,” said Dr. Panagis Galiatsatos.

He said research shows the vaccines still work against the new variant but the booster is extremely helpful.

“You have those antibodies naturally decay over time and so we need to boost them back up to be protective against omicron,” said Galiatsatos.

He said it’s never too late to get vaccinated or boosted, especially with another surge in cases predicted after the upcoming holidays.

“It [the booster] definitely takes off from where the antibodies are so it’s not the gradual build up that we had to see with the first and second shot. This might happen exponentially fast,” said Galiatsatos. “For those who have not been vaccinated, COVID is still ravaging them. Our hospitals continue to be filled overwhelmingly by unvaccinated people with COVID-19.”

To help get more people shots, the Ruth M. Kirk Recreation and Learning Center hosted its third clinic in partnership with the Saint Joseph Medical Center Pharmacy Monday.

Denise Holland and her daughter were just a few of the people who made it out to get their booster shot.

They wanted to be protected before seeing family for the holidays, after seeing the surge cases.

“That kind of put a little bit of fear in me so I had to come do what I had to do,” said Holland.

Galiatsatos said the surge we are seeing now is in part because of the new variant and also because of more people getting together, especially for Thanksgiving.

Along with the vaccine and booster shots, Galiatsatos recommends getting tested before gatherings and also wearing masks indoors.

To find a vaccine clinic, click here.