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Fact Check | With COVID-19’s delta variant spreading, should vaccinated people still wear masks?

“Like all viruses, SARS-CoV-2 accumulates mutations as it spreads through a population and makes errors in copying its genetic code... delta contains at least 23 mutations...”

Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine Getty Images

At the top of 2020, Americans were alerted to be cautious of respiratory symptoms, especially if travelers had a history of visiting Wuhan, China. What medically felt out of reach a year ago, for many, has altered the world irrecoverably. Last Jan. 21, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) verified that the first case of 2019 Novel Coronavirus reached Washington state. However, despite the national introduction, Former President Trump and the World Health Organization (WHO) logged doubts about what would evolve into the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“We have it totally under control. It’s one person coming in from China. It’s going to be just fine,” Trump told the nation during an opening televised interview. Now, Doctor Tedros Ghebreyesus, the World Health Organization’s director-general, authenticated that the global spread of coronavirus has progressed faster than vaccine distribution during a recent WHO media briefing. All information considered, jurisdictions around the globe have advanced regional lockdowns, social distancing parameters, and precautionary restrictions. The Coronavirus (COVID-19) Dashboard confirms the death toll has exceeded 3.9 million worldwide.

To add, the pandemic has claimed over 620,000 lives in America alone. As a result, our country has registered more significant coronavirus infections and deaths than any other nation on the map. Citizens’ latest health threat is the outbreak of the delta (B.1.617.2) variant of SARS-CoV-2, a coronavirus mutation, which has already infected fully vaccinated people.

For those unfamiliar, Vox communicated, “Like all viruses, SARS-CoV-2 accumulates mutations as it spreads through a population and makes errors in copying its genetic code. The majority of those mistakes are harmful to the virus or have no net effect, but occasionally a mutation will arise that gives the virus an advantage... delta contains at least 23 mutations...”

This more transmissible form of coronavirus was first discovered in India. According to Intelligencer, the year’s February-identified variant is “...40 to 60 percent more contagious than the Alpha (U.K./B.1.1.7) variant.” Thus, in the combat of growing infections, vaccination rates advance by the millions daily. Beside these evolving figures are raised concerns facing an upward of 182,000,000 present-day coronavirus cases, of which Americans consistently maintain the bulk.

Further than the states’ numerics, “23.4% of the world population has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine,” as summarized by an Our World In Data research report. Collective recovery is worth acknowledgment. While gratitude is extended toward the advancement medical professionals have enabled for the general population, their bravery brings forth evidence of racial disparities. In comparison to white and Asian Americans, who experience the lowest age-adjusted COVID-19 metrics, The APM Research Lab’s first-year notes found, “Pacific Islander, [Latinx], Indigenous and Black Americans all have a COVID-19 death rate of double or more.”

Moreover, these outlines echo American designs surrounding a lack of access to vital resources — including but not limited to socio-economic depositions such as those concerning the gender wage gap. Who receives what first is rooted deeply into the nation’s histories. The open-ended pandemic is no exception.

Across trades, coronavirus nearly froze the marketplace. Reopening efforts have become expansive worldwide. The two-dose Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines lead in demand while the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine became available in more limited quantities following healthcare concerns. Each mentioned option has been said to shield against the delta variant damages by world leaders, including the U.S. Surgeon General Doctor Vivek Murthy. Next to ongoing developments, the CDC website bullets as follows:

Fully vaccinated people can:

  • Resume activities without wearing masks or physically distancing, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance
  • Resume domestic travel and refrain from testing before or after travel or self-quarantine after travel
  • Refrain from testing before leaving the United States for international travel (unless required by the destination) and refrain from self-quarantine after arriving back in the United States...”

The claim: With the more contagious delta variant of COVID-19 spreading across the country, should fully vaccinated people still wear masks?

Our findings: True.

Despite preventive measures, the heightened anxieties of citizens and skeptical legislators alike are understandable. Last week at a White House press conference, Doctor Anthony Fauci, the director of America’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, expressed what felt like fine print to many. “The delta variant is currently the greatest threat in the U.S. to our attempt to eliminate COVID-19,” he said.

Presently, the mentioned strain is prompting increased lockdowns abroad. Meanwhile, stateside models indicate, “Delta now accounts for around 40% of new U.S. cases,” according to Doctor William Lee, vice president of science at Helix, in a statement provided to Reuters. Communal defenses vary day by day, and masks are a means to safeguard residents despite geographic location or occurring fluctuations. As mentioned before, the delta variant has a plethora of added mutations — and its lethal irregularities have been “identified in 78 countries” by The Economist. Hence, diverse outcomes have since ensued.

For example, in New York City, the former national epicenter, an order from Governor Andrew M. Cuomo signified that COVID-19 restrictions were lifted throughout the five boroughs and statewide. His reopening announcement validated, “What New York has done is extraordinary. Not only do we have the lowest COVID positivity rate in the United States of America, we have hit 70 percent vaccination ahead of schedule. We successfully deployed the weapon that will win the war, and New York led the nation.”

Mirroring this national headway, The Los Angeles Times summarized earlier this week, “More than 3 in 5 Californians have gotten at least one vaccine dose to date, but fewer than half are fully vaccinated.” Governor Gavin Newsom’s reopening details have been adjusted since his June 11 motion to lift pandemic executive orders with counties including Los Angeles starting to instill voluntary mask-wearing guidelines. And the state’s updated face-covering administrative data aligns with previous CDC recommendations.

Eric Topol, a professor of molecular medicine and an executive vice president at the Scripps Research Institution, recently explained to Scientific American, “It is the most hyper-transmissible, contagious version of the virus we’ve seen to date, for sure. It’s a super-spreader strain if there ever was one.” Even so, government-enforced wellness standards, related to masks, bring forth a divide in judgments regarding individual liberties. CNBC documented that through a news briefing, Doctor Mariangela Simao, WHO’s assistant director-general for access to medicines and health products, asserted: “People cannot feel safe just because they had the two doses. They still need to protect themselves.”

Sources:

-https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2020/p0121-novel-coronavirus-travel-case.html

-https://www.deccanherald.com/international/world-news-politics/we-have-it-totally-under-control-donald-trumps-most-notable-quotes-on-the-coronavirus-896212.html

-https://doggett.house.gov/media-center/blog-posts/timeline-trump-s-coronavirus-responses

-https://www.cnbc.com/2020/01/22/trump-on-coronavirus-from-china-we-have-it-totally-under-control.html

-https://covid19.who.int/

-https://twitter.com/DrTedros

-https://twitter.com/WHO/status/1404456452878569473?s=20

-https://www.cnn.com/2021/06/16/world/coronavirus-newsletter-intl-06-16-21/index.html

-https://www.vox.com/22547537/delta-coronavirus-variant-covid-19-vaccines-masks-lockdown

-https://covariants.org/variants/21A.Delta

-https://ajph.aphapublications.org/doi/10.2105/AJPH.2019.305290

- https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2021/06/covid-b-1-617-2-delta-variant-what-we-know.html

-https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-01390-4

-https://www.apmresearchlab.org/covid/deaths-by-race

-https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/women/reports/2020/03/24/482141/quick-facts-gender-wage-gap/

-https://www.reuters.com/business/us-job-growth-picks-up-may-unemployment-rate-falls-58-2021-06-04/

-https://www.cnbc.com/2021/06/30/us-surgeon-general-johnson-johnson-covid-vaccine-may-protect-people-against-the-delta-variant.html

-https://www.statista.com/statistics/1105235/coronavirus-2019ncov-cases-recoveries-deaths-most-affected-countries-worldwide/

-https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/fully-vaccinated-guidance.html

-https://www.npr.org/sections/coronavirus-live-updates/2021/06/30/1011684609/moderna-says-studies-show-its-vaccine-is-effective-against-the-delta-variant

-https://www.economist.com/graphic-detail/2021/06/29/delta-is-fast-becoming-the-worlds-dominant-strain-of-sars-cov-2

-https://www.usnews.com/news/health-news/articles/2021-06-22/fauci-delta-variant-accounts-for-20-of-new-coronavirus-cases-in-us

-https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/22/nyregion/Coronavirus-new-York-epicenter.html

-https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A_uGmX2KKGw

-https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/governor-cuomo-announces-covid-19-restrictions-lifted-70-adult-new-yorkers-have-received-first

-https://www.wsj.com/articles/vaccinated-people-account-for-half-of-new-covid-19-delta-cases-in-israeli-outbreak-11624624326

-https://www.reuters.com/lifestyle/science/delta-variant-gains-ground-us-men-do-worse-with-covid-19-2021-06-30/

-https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2021-06-28/as-delta-variant-spreads-l-a-county-recommends-everyone-mask-indoors

-https://www.gov.ca.gov/2021/06/11/as-california-fully-reopens-governor-newsom-announces-plans-to-lift-pandemic-executive-orders/

-https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/COVID-19/Face-Coverings-QA.aspx

-https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-dangerous-is-the-delta-variant-and-will-it-cause-a-covid-surge-in-the-u-s/

-https://www.cnbc.com/2021/06/25/delta-who-urges-fully-vaccinated-people-to-continue-to-wear-masks-as-variant-spreads.html

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