The Delta variant could (possibly) bring back mask warrants in some places

The spread of the delta extra-contagious variant in the Bay Area and elsewhere has sparked a lot of discussion and questions about whether the relative freedom we all know with the lifting of public health orders could be short-lived. .

The short answer seems to be, according to most experts speaking to the media and science journalists, that in places like San Francisco where immunization levels are very high, new mask warrants in addition to the one already in place for facilities. health and public transport are not likely. . Bars and restaurants are also unlikely to all have to go out again, unless the number of cases suddenly spikes or people who have been vaccinated suddenly start getting very sick.

The Mayor of London Breed was asked on Wednesday whether the Delta variant could lead to a change in current health orders, and she objected. As ABC 7 reportsBreed said such changes would come from the Department of Public Health.

“I think the fact that we have so many people vaccinated, over 80% of the people in San Francisco are vaccinated, we are doing very well,” said Breed – but to clarify, to date, 75% of the residents patients over 12 years of age were fully immunized and 82% of residents over 12 years of age received at least one dose.

Thursday the State Capitol instituted a new mask mandate for lawmakers and construction workers after a COVID outbreak occurred among nine employees. This has raised questions about whether Gov. Gavin Newsom might consider new mask warrants elsewhere if the Delta variant continues on its current course and vaccination levels in some places remain slow.

Also this week, the World Health Organization recommended that everyone, including those vaccinated, continue to wear masks indoors, but US experts say this recommendation is based on low vaccination rates. in the world.

Asked about new statewide mandates on Wednesday, according to the Associated Press, Newsom replied, “Well if we keep getting people vaccinated it won’t be necessary. Do you need more. evidence? “

The New York Times Podcast The Daily covered the Delta variant this week, and science reporter Carl Zimmer said he won’t be putting on a mask to walk to the store anytime soon due to the low case rate currently where he lives in Connecticut. But that may change if the situation changes – and experts seem to agree that if you or a loved one is at high risk for severe COVID and you find yourself in a part of the country where immunization levels are still low, masking and keeping your distance from people is probably the best course of action. The Delta variant is clearly spreading rapidly, and the CDC estimated on Thursday that it has already become the dominant strain of COVID in the United States

Zimmer reiterated what epidemiologists continue to say – including Monica Gandhi from UCSF – that if you are vaccinated, especially with the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, you are strongly protected against Delta and other variants. There are unknowns as to whether a vaccinated person can transmit the disease to an unvaccinated person, and there has been a small percentage of cases found that become relatively serious.

As Dr Arthur Reingold, head of epidemiology at UC Berkeley Public Health, told ABC 7 about keeping masks indoors, “If you are, for example, an immunocompromised person, if you live with someone who is immunocompromised, maybe this extra level of protection is a good idea because vaccines are not perfect. “

San Francisco continues to see low levels of new daily COVID cases, but hospitalizations still haven’t fallen to zero – and 25 COVID patients were in city hospitals on Thursday, state data showed.

Still, the 14-day average of daily new cases in SF has doubled over the past month, from 12 earlier in the month to 24 in the past two weeks. And the number of cases has also increased in Alameda County, where hospitalizations are also increasing. Health officials said this was largely due to pockets of the population where vaccination rates remain low.

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