Just when the light at the end of the COVID tunnel appeared, a new variant, Delta, arrived, more aggressive than any before it—and ready to prey on unvaccinated Americans. Concerned about the rising cases, Dr. Ashish Jha, the dean of Brown University’s School of Public Health, spoke with CNN and the New Yorker about what you can do to stay safe, when you have to wear your mask, and if you can get sick after vaccination. Read on for five points that could save your life—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.
“We are at a precarious moment for a couple of reasons,” Jha told the New Yorker. “We’re certainly over the worst of the pandemic. I don’t think we’re ever going to go back to the level of suffering and death we saw at the end of last year. But, in some ways, people feel like the pandemic is done and it’s behind us here in the U.S. And yet the surge of infections from the Delta variant is just getting going, and is really going to challenge us over the next several months. And most Americans, I think, aren’t aware of how much worse things could get.” “Things are about to get worse,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci yesterday.
“If you’re with a group of people, everybody’s vaccinated, assuming no one is having fevers and coughing on you, everybody feels well. Yeah. It’s absolutely safe for people to get together indoors without a mask,” said Jha to CNN. One caveat: In areas of high COVID concentration, the CDC recommends vaccinated people keep their masks on indoors. “If you could figure out how to get only the unvaccinated to wear masks, you wouldn’t need to push the vaccinated to be masked,” Jha told the New Yorker.
“We have seen little to no transmission outdoors, even among unvaccinated people and among vaccinated people. I would not worry about it. You can’t get it and you’re not gonna be able to give it to anybody else. So yes. Walk outside,” Jha told CNN.
One CNN viewer asked: “Can breakthrough cases result in some of the terrible long haul symptoms that we’re seeing in some of those mild cases and unvaccinated people?” “That’s really fabulous question,” said Jha on CNN. “Short answer: We don’t know for sure. The data so far I would say is reassuring. We have seen some people with persistent symptoms and most immunologists think it’s less likely, but I would say we just don’t have definitive answer on this yet.”
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“If you do catch the Delta variant, how long do you carry and are you able to spread it? And can you catch the variant over and over again?” …even if you’re vaccinated, Jha was asked on CNN. “You can spread it,” said Jha. “We know that vaccinated people can spread it, usually when they have symptoms. And we think the period of time that they are contagious is shorter than if you’re un-vaccinated, probably a few days. But we don’t know for sure. All the evidence so far says, if you’re vaccinated, you have a breakthrough that becomes one more opportunity for your immune system to get even better at it. And so the idea of recurrent infections is pretty darn unlikely.”
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Follow the public health fundamentals and help end this pandemic, no matter where you live—get vaccinated ASAP; if you live in an area with low vaccination rates, wear a face mask that fits snugly and is double layered, don’t travel, social distance, avoid large crowds, don’t go indoors with people you’re not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene, 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.