Less than half of the country is fully vaccinated and with cases on the rise, experts are urging a return to precautions reminiscent of the earlier days of the pandemic.
CNN’s medical analyst Dr. Jonathan Reiner, at George Washington University said,
“What I would say bluntly is: If you are not vaccinated right now in the United States, you should not go into a bar, you should probably not eat at a restaurant.
You are at great risk of becoming infected.”
According to Johns Hopkins University, in 34 states, the rate of new COVID cases increased by more than 50% from the previous week.
Part of the urgency to control spread and implement precautions is due to the prevalence of the Delta variant, which is believed to be more transmissible than other strains of the virus.
Dr. Celine Gounder, who served on Biden’s transition COVID advisory board, said in an interview with STAT on Friday,
“At the beginning of the pandemic, the CDC said that a close contact was somebody that you’re indoors with unmasked for 15 minutes or more.
The equivalent of that with the Delta variant is not 15 minutes, it’s one second.”
So people might need to do more than one thing to protect themselves from the more transmissible variant, said Gounder, an infectious diseases specialist at NYU’s Grossman School of Medicine.
According to new projections released last Wednesday from the COVID-19 Scenario Modeling Hub, a consortium of researchers working in consultation with the CDC, the current surge in the U.S. — fueled by the highly contagious delta variant — the virus will steadily accelerate through the summer and fall, peaking in mid-October, with daily deaths more than triple what they are now.
Justin Lessler, an epidemiologist at the University of North Carolina says,
“What’s going on in the country with the virus is matching our most pessimistic scenarios.
We might be seeing synergistic effects of people becoming less cautious in addition to the impacts of the delta variant.
“I think it’s a big call for caution.”
Dr. George Monks said in a thread on the Delta variant on Twitter,
“Even if you are fully vaccinated, it would be wise to wear a mask in indoor environments or crowded areas.”
One important question is whether the Delta strain will make you sicker than the original virus. Early information about the severity of Delta included a study from Scotland that showed the Delta variant was about twice as likely as Alpha to result in hospitalization in unvaccinated individuals.
But other data has shown no significant difference. The information could (and will likely) change as experts learn more.
(13) Now is not the time to panic, but it is a good time to prepare and be aware of what’s happening. Please consider getting vaccinated if you are able. Even if you are fully vaccinated, it would be wise to wear a mask in indoor environments or crowded areas.— George Monks (@GeorgeMonks11) July 17, 2021
Our Twitter friends are SO creative! pic.twitter.com/dlCuyIlvYQ— COVID-19 in Oklahoma… (@OklahomaCovid) July 25, 2021