The Delta variant of COVID-19 is upending our summer, as the CDC just announced even vaccinated people should wear a mask indoors, when in communities with high transmissibility. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the chief medical advisor to the President and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, appeared on Morning Joe to sound the alarm, and shared what you can do to stay safe, and keep any unvaccinated kids safe. Read on for five life-saving pieces of advice—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure Signs You Have “Long” COVID and May Not Even Know It.
Two months ago, “the CDC came out with the recommendation that individuals who have been vaccinated do not need to wear masks, indoors, or outdoors,” admitted Fauci, but “something has changed. And what has changed is the virus. The CDC hasn’t changed and the CDC hasn’t really flip-flopped at all. What’s happened is that when that early recommendation was made, we were dealing predominantly with the alpha variant and the alpha variants, when you look at individuals who are vaccinated, that the level of virus in the nasopharynx of vaccinated people who might get a breakthrough infection, that the level of virus was really very low, indicating that it would be extremely unlikely that a vaccinated person who happened to get infected. And that happens because the vaccine is certainly not a hundred percent effective, that that would be very unlikely that they would transmit. However, now we are dealing with the Delta variant, which is really quite a lot more transmissible than the alpha variant.”
“The most recent data” shows “that when a person gets infected, who has been vaccinated, namely, a breakthrough infection, and they get infected with the Delta variant, that the level of virus in their nasopharynx is about a thousand times higher than what the alpha variant,” said Fauci. “And it has been well-documented. And even though it’s a rare occurrence, those individuals can and have transmitted the virus to uninfected individuals. And for that reason, the recommendations and the guidelines have been changed to say that if you are vaccinated, even though you were vaccinated, you are in an indoor public setting, in an area of the country with a high degree of viral dynamics, mainly the red and orange sections on the CDC chart, then you need to wear a mask, even though you are vaccinated.” Here are the areas of high transmission.
Wearing a mask indoors after vaccination is “mainly to really protect the people who are vulnerable, that you might inadvertently and innocently come into contact with,” he said. “You don’t want anyone to get infected. If you’re not infected, you’re not going to transmit it to someone else. So point number one, to protect you from getting infected. The fact that you’re vaccinated, as we know, it is extremely unlikely that you’re going to get a hospitalization or die because people who are fully vaccinated, when they get a breakthrough infection, it is extremely unusual that they will get a serious outcome. However, if you have the virus in your nasopharynx and you go home and you have in your home, or with your acquaintances, people who are vulnerable, people who have immunosuppression, some of the very elderly, frail people whose immune response might not be robust and even unvaccinated children. So it’s a combination. You protect yourself, but importantly, you don’t want to inadvertently bring it back to your home or to another place where you could transmit it to someone else. That’s the reason for the mask ordering mandate.”
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“First of all, it is true that in general, the statistics that have said that when a child gets infected, that it is less likely that that person will have a serious outcome compared to an elderly person—that still holds true. However, when you have a lot of dynamics of infection, children are going to get infected. There’s no doubt about that. And when children get infected, some of them, even though they’re not a lot of them, some of them are gonna get a serious outcome and some of them are going to die. We have about 400 deaths among children right now with COVID-19. So we shouldn’t make the false assumption that it’s okay for kids to get infected because statistically they don’t generally do as poorly as individuals who are elderly, who have underlying conditions. That is not the case. We need to protect the children, even though it’s less likely for them to get a serious outcome.”
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“If we can get 80, 85% of the population vaccinated, that is going to have a profound, beneficial effect in the sense of really nailing down this outbreak,” said Dr. Fauci. “Because if you get that amount of people vaccinated together with the people that have already been infected, you’re going to really restrict the ability of that virus to spread around. If we go there, all of these things that we’re talking about—people don’t like masks, they don’t like restrictions—the easiest way to put that behind you is to get vaccinated. It is a very easy, clear, cut, documented solution to the problem.” Go get vaccinated, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don’t visit any of these 35 Places You’re Most Likely to Catch COVID.