The highly contagious Delta variant has prompted a new surge of Covid-19 around the U.S., leading officials in some areas to reverse what had been a months-long trend of loosening restrictions.
Health officials in Los Angeles County—the most populated county in the U.S.—urged residents starting at the end of June to don a mask in public places again, even if they’ve been fully vaccinated.
The mayor of Orange County, Florida—which includes Orlando and Walt Disney World—issued a “strong recommendation” on Monday for everyone to wear masks in crowded indoor spaces.
Austin, Texas, officially moved back under a stricter set of Covid guidelines on Thursday, which recommends everyone at high risk for Covid complications should wear a mask in public while avoiding large crowds and not traveling unless necessary.
Yolo County in the Sacramento, California, area issued guidance on Wednesday saying all residents, even the fully vaccinated, should wear masks in public, indoor spaces.
The Mississippi State Department of Health released new guidelines on Friday saying all residents 65 and older, along with those suffering from underlying chronic medical conditions, should stay away from large, indoor gatherings.
6.13%. That’s what the U.S. Covid testing positivity rate has risen to, according to the Mayo Clinic. That’s more than triple what the positivity rate was in mid-June, when it was around 1.65%.
The CDC confirmed last week the highly contagious Delta variant had become the dominant Covid-19 strain in the U.S., leading to renewed calls for the unvaccinated to get their shots. According to the CDC, nearly 68% of adults in the U.S. have had at least one Covid shot, but the vaccination rate varies largely across the country. Mississippi has the lowest rate, with only around 37% of residents having received one shot. That’s an especially concerning figure since state State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs tweeted this week Delta makes up “pretty much ALL cases” in Mississippi. Health officials across the U.S. are also concerned about the high levels of vaccine hesitancy among young people, since the Delta variant appears to cause more severe Covid cases in young people than other strains. Vaccines still seem to be highly effective at warding off infection from the Delta variant, but high rates of transmission have sparked concerns there could be more “breakthrough cases”—Covid-19 cases among the fully vaccinated.
World Health Organization officials said last month fully vaccinated people should wear masks and practice social distancing in public to combat the Delta variant, but the CDC disagrees. CDC guidance says only unvaccinated people need to mask up, while the fully vaccinated can largely return to their pre-pandemic lifestyles.
Return Of Covid Restrictions: Mississippi Tells Seniors To Avoid Big Gatherings—Regardless Of Vaccine Status (Forbes)
Orlando Recommending Even Fully Vaccinated Wear Masks Indoors As Covid-19 Cases Surge Amid Summer Travel Boom (Forbes)
Infectious Delta Variant Is Now The Dominant Covid Strain In U.S., CDC Says (Forbes)
WHO Urges Fully Vaccinated People To Continue Wearing Masks As Delta Variant Spreads—But No Word From CDC (Forbes)