Just when you thought the pandemic might be coming to a close, the Delta variant has made its way to the States and started to cause trouble.
While things aren't as bad as they were at the start of the year, the vaccination rollout has helped, there's the potential for things to get worse before they get better.
It's with the Delta variant in mind that the mayor of Orange County, Florida is asking residents to wear a mask indoors again. This is in response to rising cases in the state and across the country.
Here's what Mayor Jerry Demings had to say in a statement:
“I am announcing today that it is my official recommendation that Orange County return to the status in which it is recommended that all residents vaccinated and unvaccinated consider wearing facial coverings indoors when in crowded environments.”
The Delta variant is much more contagious than the original variant and the Alpha variant which originated in Kent, England. If you're unvaccinated, the odds of suffering severe illness from the Delta variant are higher than with previous variants.
Orange County's Twitter page realised a useful infographic to highlight how many people are vaccinated in the county:
With just under 60% of the population vaccinated, there are still a lot of people who are susceptible to Delta. Medical Director Dr. Raul Pino approved of Mayor Demings' recommendation:
“It makes a lot of sense what the mayor just announced. For those who are going to go into crowded environments indoors everyone should be masked. If you want to protect yourself. It is your choice, it is your decision, it’s not a mandate."
Those who are at the highest risk from the Delta variant are unvaccinated adults and children. As children aren't eligible to be vaccinated yet, they are more vulnerable. The risk of serious illness from the variant will be higher for adults but there is concern for the wellbeing of children who could still be affected by Delta.
Dr Fauci was clear the Delta variant was deadly but did stress the vaccines work against it:
"The bad news is that we have a very nasty variant. The good news is that we have a vaccine that works against it."
If you're living in Orange County or neighboring counties, the best thing to do is to get yourself vaccinated if you haven't already. This is the best way to ensure you're protected against Delta.
If you're already vaccinated, take precautions. Wearing a mask doesn't infringe on your liberty, it protects you and others. Wearing a mask indoors is a small price to pay if it means the spread of the virus is halted.
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