Pete Petoniak, Popular Wisconsin News Meteorologist, Hospitalized With COVID

WLUK news meteorologist Pete Petoniak has been hospitalized with COVID, and his co-hosts are asking viewers to pray for his recovery.

The Fox-affiliated Wisconsin news station announced the news in an article published online on Monday, explaining why viewers may have "noticed an absent face" in recent broadcasts.

According to Google Trends, search queries for "where is Pete Petoniak" have increased recently.

Petoniak is reportedly eager to share his story and let people know that he was fully vaccinated when he contracted the virus—what is known as a breakthrough case.

His co-hosts are due to cover his shifts while his illness is being treated.

Emily Deem, co-host of the Good Day Wisconsin broadcast, posted on Twitter on Monday morning: "We ask that you please pray for Pete. Missing him so much!"

Rachel Manek, another co-host, wrote on Facebook: "We ask you to please pray for Pete and his family as he battles COVID. We miss you Pete!"

Petoniak is a well-known presenter on the news station with 15,000 Facebook followers.

COVID breakthrough cases have been a topic of interest for months amid reports that people are still getting ill with the virus despite having had two shots of the vaccine.

It is important to note that breakthrough cases are expected and do not mean the vaccines are ineffective. There are a number of factors associated with breakthrough cases, including waning immunity over time and the fact that no vaccine is 100 percent effective at preventing illness.

Another factor is that people who are immunocompromised may not have built up adequate protection against COVID even after two shots of the vaccine.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), fully vaccinated people are less likely to develop a serious illness with COVID than unvaccinated people even if they do develop a breakthrough infection.

Andrew Brouwer, a mathematical epidemiologist and modeler in the Department of Epidemiology at the University of Michigan, told Newsweek earlier in November: "With high community transmission, breakthrough cases will happen. But breakthrough infections in vaccinated people are more likely to be mild and less likely to result in hospitalization or death."

We may also expect the number and proportion of breakthrough cases to rise as more and more people get vaccinated.

Petoniak is not the only high-profile person to report a breakthrough case recently.

Last week, U.S. dancer and Dancing With the Stars judge Derek Hough announced that he had also fallen ill with COVID despite having been fully vaccinated.

And Jen Psaki, White House press secretary, also tested positive for the virus despite being fully vaccinated.

"The better COVID-19 vaccines, the mRNAs, are, in fact, pretty good at protecting against infection, but some breakthroughs are inevitable," John P. Moore, professor of microbiology and immunology at Weill Cornell Medical College, told Newsweek last month. "However, these vaccines are still strongly protecting against serious COVID-19, which is why the overwhelming majority of the hospital-severity infections and deaths in the USA at the moment are in unvaccinated people."

Hospital
A stock photo shows a hospital walkway with a member of staff in it. Wisconsin meteorologist Pete Petoniak has been hospitalized with COVID. sudok1/Getty