St.,Paul,-,August,26:,Large,Crowds,Fill,The,Street

 Large crowds fill the street at the Minnesota State Fair on August 26, 2012, in St. Paul. 

(The Center Square) – In some semblance of normalcy, the State Fair is a go.

Fair officials decided not to mandate masks, citing an outdoor event that relies on food and drinks consumption would be hard to police.

"We are largely an outdoor event with plenty of eating and drinking," the State Fair says on its website. "Mandating masks fairgrounds-wide would be extremely difficult for our organization to enforce, so we are urging you to pitch in and do what's right. Particularly if you go inside, simply put a face covering on for the time you're shopping or visiting an exhibit."

The website says masks will be required for attendees who go inside and for unvaccinated people who ride a trolley. Fair officials recommended spreading out attendance during non-peak hours to social distance.

The COVID-19 delta variant is still spreading, but 70.6% of Minnesotans ages 16 and older have at least one vaccine injection. While fully vaccinated Minnesotans can still contract COVID-19, state health officials said the 7,171 breakthrough cases are well below 1%, comprising only 0.24% among more than 3 million vaccinated people.

The breakthrough cases included 584 people or 0.02% hospitalized and 60 people who died of COVID-19, just 0.002% of 3 million fully vaccinated Minnesotans.

A recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study indicates unvaccinated people are 2.34 times more likely to be reinfected than those who are fully vaccinated.

Early 2021 data from 24 states suggests a fully vaccinated person is much less likely to be hospitalized or die from the virus, according to data from the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF).

“The rate of breakthrough cases reported among those fully vaccinated is well below 1% in all reporting states, ranging from 0.01% in Connecticut to 0.29% in Alaska,” KFF reported.

Staff Reporter

Scott McClallen is a staff writer covering Michigan and Minnesota for The Center Square. A graduate of Hillsdale College, his work has appeared on Forbes.com and FEE.org. Previously, he worked as a financial analyst at Pepsi.