As the US inches towards 50% Covid vaccination rates, the Delta variant poses a threat to the progress the country has made, particularly in areas where vaccination rates remain low. Even if you've received your shots, it's crucial to remain on alert as healthcare experts keep an eye on its transmission.
The Delta variant, which began in India in December 2020, has since spread to over 80 countries and comprises over 20% of US cases. Infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci stated in a White House press briefing that it is "currently the greatest threat in the US" in our fight to beat Covid.
Echoing that sentiment, Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, revealed to CNN (opens in new tab) that certain "pockets of the country" such as rural areas and the south are likely to experience outbreaks, as they have low vaccination rates. (Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Wyoming have the lowest vaccination rates, all of which are under 35%.)
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Though it may seem like a step backwards, the World Health Organization issued new guidelines on June 25 in the wake of the Delta variant's spread suggesting that fully vaccinated people continue to wear masks indoors and social distance, according to The New York Times. Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director-general of the W.H.O, insisted that we keep using the proper precautions until it becomes more clear how the Delta variant is spreading and who it affects.
This comes on the heels of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention easing mask restrictions in May. However, on June 30, CDC director Rochelle Walensky told TODAY that the agency will not require US citizens to wear masks indoors like WHO, stating that the organization is making those changes as it is working on a global scale and such changes aren't necessary in the US.
CDC or WHO?
The CDC says you can go maskless indoors if you are fully vaccinated, yet WHO does not. Who should you listen to? Rochelle recommends adhering to local policy makers. Those who want to err on the side of caution might be more inclined to follow WHO's new mandate. When in doubt, always consult a medical professional.
COVID vaccines do reportedly protect against the Delta variant, however, the Pfizer vaccine’s efficacy is slightly lower than others'. Those who have only received one dosage of the vaccine are also placed in a riskier situation, so it is not advised to skip your second dose, even if you think the first shot was effective.
If you have any questions, always consult a medical professional. We'll also help guide you through concerns about the Covid vaccines and pregnancy, fertility and periods that continue to arise.
Danielle is a writer for woman&home and My Imperfect Life, where she particularly enjoys covering lifestyle and entertainment news. She was previously the editor of Time Out New York Kids and a news editor at Elite Daily. When she's not working, you can find her reading a good book and enjoying a cup of coffee. Follow her @dvwrites.
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