Bill Maher is fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Still, the 65-year-old host contracted the virus — what does that mean for the efficacy of the inoculations?
Friday’s taping of “Real Time With Bill Maher” was canceled because Maher tested positive for COVID-19 though he reported no symptoms, Fox News reported. The comedian is one of the latest cases of a “breakthrough positive” in a vaccinated individual.
The program’s Twitter account made the announcement Thursday. “Bill tested positive during weekly staff PCR testing for COVID,” the tweet said. “He is fully vaccinated and as a result is asymptomatic and feels fine.”
The statement stressed that the staff has “taken every precaution following CDC guidelines” during production. “No other staff or crew members have tested positive at this time,” the tweet explained. “The show will be rescheduled at a later date.”
— Real Time with Bill Maher (@RealTimers) May 13, 2021
This news comes amid other reports that at least eight players on the New York Yankees have tested positive for the virus despite being fully vaccinated, according to The Washington Post. “With regard to the Yankees, we obviously need to learn more about that situation,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle P. Walensky told reporters at a news conference. “My understanding is that six of the seven infections were indeed asymptomatic infections, and we will look to more data from that report to understand what happened there.
She further explained that the “data we’ve seen that’s been in the published literature, large studies, in many different settings, have demonstrated that those vaccines have a high effectiveness against disease.” Notably, all of the vaccinated players who tested positive received the Johnson & Johnson single-dose vaccine which has a lower effective rate than the others.
The team was given the green light to relax precautions last month after achieving 85% staff vaccination. The CDC also recently lifted the mask mandate for vaccinated individuals in most indoor and outdoor scenarios. It’s unclear what will happen going forward with these high-profile reports of infections among the vaccinated, however.
Even if the vaccines are as effective as they’re supposed to be, it’s clear that the virus can still spread. If the goal is to lock down and mask up until this virus goes away completely, it’s an unrealistic proposition. As it is with many other viruses, humans will have to live with the uncertainty of catching it — or else stay locked in their homes forever.