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    Updated: Delta Variant; CDC & State response.

    Delta Variant; increased cases; CDC & State response.

    Update:


    According to ABC News, Philadelphia will require masks be worn inside businesses unless the business requires proof of vaccination. Mask Madate in effect starting tomorrow (Thurs 8/12, 12 am)

    New Jersey to require masks in schools as Delta variant spreads. Governor Phil Murphy mandated everyone from kindergarten through 12th-grade, both students and staff must wear masks indoors regardless of vaccination status for the public school system.

    *** Cloth mask is not as effective on their own against variants. Use a paper mask inside a cloth mask if you can’t get a n95 mask. It has similiar effectiveness. Be safe.

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    Just when we thought the worst was behind us, Covid strikes again.  And many are not aware that you may still catch Covid even if you are vaccinated. As a result, as Summer winds down and just as Fall approaches, the question of whether school should be in person or virtual is once again a thing. Also, children under 12 are not yet able to be vaccinated. That is a large concern in terms of spreading the virus. Now, that variants are in play, the virus spread is increasing rapidly. 

    And while, vaccination numbers higher now. It is not a full solution. The vaccine was created in the beginning of the pandemic. Of course, it was fighting the strain that was currently out there: the original covid-19 virus. However, that is not necessarily the one that threatens us now. Variants mutate changing how to virus responds making vaccines less effective. But, that does not mean they don’t work. They are just not comprehensive as of yet to reduce and eraticate the variant strains as effectively as the original virus.  Let’s explore variant strains, more specifically the Delta strain. 

    What is the Delta Variant strain?

    The Delta variant is a highly contagious SARS-CoV-2 virus strain. This strain was first identified in India in December. Recently, It sweeping throughout our country and is now the predominant variant. According to the CDC, this strain is more transmittable than the common cold or the flu. Now, it is more problematic as summer events see people gathering in much larger numbers and school picking up shortly, it is easy to see why there is cause for concern. 

    Delta Variant strain
    Via CDC regarding delta variant strain contagious exponetial spread

    For example, let’s consider a scenario on how the virus may spread. If we consider an environment—where no one is vaccinated or wearing masks—the average estimation is that one person infected with the original coronavirus strain will infect 2.5 other people. In the same scenario but factoring in the delta strain, one person infected will spread to 3.5 or 4 other people, growing exponentially. 

    Well, I am vaccinated. Surely, I should be fine, right?

    Not necessarily. True, your risk may be lower. Additionallu, if you did contract Covid, your symptoms will be less severe. But, being vaccinated, at this time does not translate to a cure. Instead, vaccines are used to slow down the virus spread and address some of the more deadlier symptomology. In short, it is buying us time to work towards a cure. It will also keep most alive to see that cure. 

    Delta variants mean you will be twice as likely to catch this strain than the original virus so it can be dangerous if you are not vaccinated. Kids are 2.5 times more likely especially since there is no approved vaccine for children under 12.  

    Okay. How can I protect myself and loved ones?

    According to the CDC,

    • Choose outdoor rather than indoor spaces 
    • Avoid crowded indoor spaces
    • Wear masks while indoors, especially around people you don’t know if they are vaccinated.
    • For unvaccinated people, consider double masking while in indoor public spaces 

    Additionally, you should resume previous preventive measures. After the vaccine became available, our attention towards basic preventative measures have become lax. Now, it is best that we pick them back up again. For instance, hand sanitizer and washing hands is helpful. Wiping down purchases and outside items could protect as well. More Importantly, mask up when in public spaces especially if you are unsure about people’s vaccination status. 

    How are we, as a country protecting against these variant strains?

    Well, for one, expect that masks are coming back as a requirement not suggestion. More stores and businesses are already putting up signs requesting the use of masks and it won’t be long before there is an official CDC mandate. Currently, they are strongly encouraged. 

    The country is increasing efforts to make getting a vaccine easier and accessible,  focusing on encouraging more people to get vaccinated. However, more information will be available at the next briefing on Wednesday, August 11, at 10:30. a.m.

    The Philadelphia School District has announced it will require masks for everyone, and has secured air purifiers for classrooms.  

    How do I know if I have it? Is it the same as Covid original strain?

    The virus strain can present like a common cold, sinuses, or allergies so it is best to be safe than sorry and get tested if you have the following:

    • Sinus congestion
    • Runny nose
    • Sore throat
    • Excessive sneezing

    Other important info to know:

    President Biden has extended the new eviction moratorium until October 3. 

    And finally, no, COVID-19 vaccines did not create the Delta variant. Stop spreading misinformation.

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