Delta variant risk means face mask use even if vaccinated against COVID

The fast spread of the Delta variant is delaying the end of the pandemic. It’s too early for South Florida residents to let their guard down, experts say. Coronavirus cases and COVID hospitalizations are on the rise.

For public health officials, the more transmissible strain has added to the urgency of the ongoing immunization campaign. The majority of COVID patients were not vaccinated against COVID-19.

“Right now in the United States more than 50% of our cases are from this new Delta variant,” said Dr. Aileen Marty, a Florida International University expert in infectious disease.

[ALSO SEE: Florida COVID-19 cases and positivity rate rising]

Experts said the variant is to blame for infecting some who are fully vaccinated. No vaccine is 100% effective. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that as of July 6 at least 5,186 patients with COVID vaccine breakthrough infection were hospitalized or died.

Marty and other experts say this shouldn’t dissuade anyone from getting the strong protection of the vaccines available.

It’s still unclear if the Delta mutation is more lethal or if it makes the symptomatic illness more severe. There is also no data available on the specific Delta variant cases in South Florida.

The World Health Organization recommends the use of facemasks and other public health measures to continue.

Here is a list of other WHO recommendations to protect yourself and others:

Reminder: “The use of a face mask alone is not sufficient to provide an adequate level of protection.”“It is important to be vaccinated as soon as possible once it’s your turn and not wait.”Minimize crowding: “Choose outdoor venues over indoor spaces – if indoors, ensure the area is well-ventilated.”Use hand sanitizer often: “An alcohol-based sanitizer does not create antibiotic resistance.”

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