Since July 27 the CDC released updates on their guidance regarding the Delta variant, the CDC urged for an increase in vaccination numbers, especially in the pockets of unvaccinated populations, and a recommendation for masking in indoor public areas that are susceptible to high transmission levels. Two-thirds of people living in some of the most vaccinated areas in the country are now considered hot spots, where cases caused by the Delta variant are on the rise.
The CDC issued these changes after taking note of the sudden increase in cases and hospitalization rates, in addition to the receival of data that suggested the Delta variant was more infectious and transmissible in comparison to the other variants, this included vaccinated individuals.
The Delta variant is currently the most predominant strain of the coronavirus in the United States and it is over two times more contagious. Data is currently suggesting that the Delta variant can cause more severe illness in unvaccinated people and were found to be more likely to have to be hospitalized as a result of infection. Unvaccinated people continue to be the greatest concern and those who are vaccinated still have the ability to transmit the virus. The CDC is still monitoring whether those who are asymptomatic and vaccinated are able to transmit the virus. Fully vaccinated people have appeared to be infectious for a shorter time period than those who are unvaccinated.
Overall, unvaccinated individuals are more likely to become ill due to the Delta variant and then transmit the virus. The COVID-19 vaccines currently on the market have proven to be highly effective, especially at preventing serious disease and death, this is for all known variants. While they are not 100% effective, they offer a high level of protection against the virus and less severe breakthrough infections (infections that happen in vaccinated people), so it is highly recommended that all unvaccinated individuals get vaccinated as soon as they are able.
Masking has continued to prove that it is effective at preventing disease caused by COVID-19 and lowering the level of transmission. While the risk of breakthrough infections is low in vaccinated individuals for other variants, it is important to remain vigilant and use all preventative measures to keep the number of cases low while vaccination numbers rise; More opportunities for people to come into contact with coronavirus means more opportunities for more dangerous strains to emerge.