What precautions should vaccinated people take against the delta variant?

COVID face mask sign
Photo via Chad Davis/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

As the delta COVID variant continues to spread rapidly through countries around the world, experts are providing advice for both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals. While unvaccinated people are at far greater risk from COVID-19 and all its variants, there are some recommended precautions for vaccinated people to take against the delta variant.

Surges in COVID-19 cases are almost entirely among unvaccinated communities, and largely stick to areas of the United States where vaccination numbers are low. Even in areas with a high vaccination rate, however, numbers are rising, and the delta variant now accounts for 83% of new cases in the U.S.

It is possible for vaccinated people to get sick with the delta variant of COVID, but there are precautions that can be taken to lessen this risk. As noted by NPR, of the 160 million Americans who’ve been vaccinated against COVID-19, only 5,492 were hospitalized or died from the virus. 

The easiest safety measure that can be taken against the delta COVID variant is masking. Resuming mask wearing in public spaces, particularly indoors, can greatly reduce the risk of transmission. Many unvaccinated people have taken advantage of loosened mask mandates, making it difficult to determine who is, and isn’t, fully vaccinated in a public space. Donning a mask whenever indoors is a safe and effective way to lessen the risk posed by COVID-19, even for the fully vaccinated.

Vaccinated people can take several additional precautions against the delta COVID variant. When attending large gatherings, like weddings, concerts, and sporting events, it is best to maintain a safe distance from other attendees. Combining a mask and physical distancing with thorough hand washing will help to reduce risk of catching or transmitting COVID-19 and its variants. 

People can also consider turning down invitations to large events if they, or someone they come into frequent contact with, is in a high-risk group. This is not a necessary precaution, but if you are concerned about attending, smaller outdoor events are the safest to attend. 

It is best to weigh the risk of each individual event or activity you intend to participate in. Consider things like the size of the space, the number of people attending, the ventilation capability of the space, and the vaccination rate of the area it is in. In areas with lower vaccination rates, like Mississippi and Alabama, events are likely to pose more risk.

Sources: NPR, MIT Medical, WebMD

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