With the highly transmissible Delta variant accounting for more than a quarter of new coronavirus cases in the United States, health officials are reconsidering the public mask mandate.
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Delta variant, which is more contagious and aggressive than others, reached nearly every state and accounted for 26.1% of all confirmed cases (CDC).
“I’m concerned about the Delta variant,” Xinhua news agency quoted the country’s Surgeon General Vivek Murthy as saying on Wednesday.
“And I am worried that what we are seeing in terms of a plateauing of cases nationally but also an increase in cases in many small sections of the US, that that is, in fact, being driven by the Delta variant.”
There is still a lot of virus circulating in the United States, and close to 300 people die every day from the coronavirus, Murthy said in an interview with CNN, citing recent data.
Coronavirus outbreaks are “entirely avoidable, entirely preventable” with vaccination, according to White House Chief Medical Advisor Anthony Fauci.
Experts warn that areas with low vaccination rates are especially vulnerable to the Delta variant.
The spread of the highly contagious Delta variant has prompted new lockdowns around the world, as well as new public health warnings.
The World Health Organization has encouraged fully vaccinated people to continue wearing masks, citing the rise of Delta.
The rapid spread of Delta in Los Angeles County has prompted officials to reinstate mask guidance for public indoor spaces – regardless of vaccination status.
On Tuesday, public health officials in Los Angeles County strongly advised residents to wear masks indoors in public places such as shopping malls “grocery or retail stores, theatres and family entertainment centres, and workplaces when you don’t know everyone’s vaccination status”.
According to CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, the Delta variant is expected to become the dominant coronavirus strain in the United States.
Experts and government officials are concerned that coronavirus variants, particularly the highly transmissible Delta variant, will continue to increase the number of new cases.
With half of the US population still unvaccinated, experts fear a resurgence of Covid-19 in the fall.