Frontline News, Edition 29August 5, 2021
CDC RECOMMENDS MASKS INDOORS WHERE VIRUS IS SURGING
Last week, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended that people vaccinated against the coronavirus resume wearing masks in schools and in public indoor spaces in parts of the country where the virus is surging.
The new recommendations are a change from CDC guidance from two months ago, which said fully vaccinated people do not have to wear masks or maintain social distance indoors or outside. The Biden Administration made this new recommendation after evaluating the very high level of coronavirus spread with the delta variant.
The CDC has long recommended that unvaccinated people wear masks indoors. But last week’s recommendations mean that even people who have been completely inoculated will once again need to mask up in public indoor spaces in parts of the country where the virus is rising.
In schools, health officials now recommended universal masking, regardless of vaccination status and community transmission of the virus, and additional precautions for staff, students and visitors. But they should still plan on returning to in-person learning in the fall. State and local officials will decide how to carry out the CDC recommendations.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio last week stopped short of reinstating a mask mandate in NYC, choosing instead to focus on increasing vaccination rates. 1199 members are continuing to educate coworkers and community members about the vaccines as well as the latest guidance from the CDC and its application in their local area.
The new recommendations are a change from CDC guidance from two months ago, which said fully vaccinated people do not have to wear masks or maintain social distance indoors or outside.
DELTA VARIANT POSES INCREASED RISK TO UNVACCINATED
Over the Spring and early Summer, more of us started to experience a return to more normal life. Vaccination rates were climbing, and infection rates were declining. However, the delta variant is reminding us that the pandemic is not over, and we need to continue fighting on many fronts.
Over the past two weeks, cases are up by 150 percent, hospitalizations are up by 86%, and deaths from the virus have climbed by 14%. Most of the new cases are happening throughout the South, with Florida seeing its highest infection rates of the pandemic.
The silver lining to this recent surge is we have the means to protect ourselves and loved ones, vaccines are the best protection against severe illness and hospitalization from the delta variant. More than 97 percent of new hospitalizations from the delta variant are among people who are unvaccinated, making what Dr. Rochelle Walensky, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, calls a pandemic of the unvaccinated.
The delta variant is also causing some “breakthrough” infections where fully vaccinated people are testing positive. Again, the good news is that with the vaccine, most these cases are either mild or asymptomatic people testing positive, but aren’t sick. Experts are predicting that the spread of the delta variant means things will get worse before they start to get better, so we need to continue encouraging family and friends to step up and get vaccinated. The vaccines are safe, effective, and the best measure to protect ourselves from the delta variant.
More than 97 percent of new hospitalizations from the delta variant unvaccinated.
QUESTION OF THE WEEK
Q: Can I get the flu shot if I’ve already taken my COVID-19 vaccine?
A: Ideally, you should wait at least two weeks between getting a COVID-19 vaccine and your flu shot. Researchers are con- dent that both shots can be administered at the same time, but there are questions about whether the side-effects produced by giving both jabs together are worse than when they are given on their own. There is also some concern about whether the immune system could respond to one vaccine more than the other if administered at the same time. These questions are still being examined, so for now it’s best to space them apart.