Dealing with Delta
Author: Anne C. Sansevero RN, MA, GNP, CCM
As the Delta variant of Covid -19 is spreading with alarming speed among the unvaccinated, anyone who isn’t yet vaccinated should get the shot as soon as possible as it will take up to 6 weeks to develop immunity. In the interim, they should avoid all public indoor settings and limit outdoor gatherings where it is difficult to socially distance outdoors or consider mask wearing in outdoor situations where they cannot maintain social distancing. If they are congregating in public places indoors, they should wear a mask and realize that they are high risk for contracting the virus if they have to remove the mask to dine or drink. They need to monitor their symptoms closely, test often, and contact trace and isolate if infected.
What about the vaccinated? In light of recent breakthrough infections, should they also be masking up? In making this decision, a few important questions should be considered:
What is your personal health and risk tolerance?
What are the infection and vaccination rates in your community?
Do you know the vaccinated status of people you are congregating with?
Are you caring for an elderly or immunocompromised individual?
Are there unvaccinated people in your household?
The current consensus among the medical experts is that fully vaccinated people should resume wearing masks indoors in community settings where there are high infectivity rates. This is because the Delta variant is a thousand times more infectious than the original Covid-19 strain and while the vaccine will protect against serious disease and illness, there is a small risk of breakthrough infections because of the increased disease spread happening all over the US right now. Once we can get our vaccination rates up to 80% across the nation, infectivity rates should decrease dramatically, and we will be able to relax the mask guidelines and resume a normal life providing no future more lethal variants emerge.
So, lets help each other out and do our best to deal with Delta and stop the spread of Covid. If you are vaccinated, be a positive role model and continue to listen to and encourage unvaccinated friends and family to get the jab. Share your positive experiences, help dispel fears and let them know you care for their well-being. If you are not yet vaccinated, examine your reasons for not getting the shot. Is your decision based on unbiased scientific information or the biased views and posts of similar folks who are also hesitant? If it’s the latter, ask yourself this question about sourcing sound information. If you had a serious medical issue, who would you rely on for an accurate diagnosis and the best treatment? A trained, qualified, and experienced health care provider or a Facebook friend whom you have never met? Remember, that your decision on getting vaccinated does not just affect your own health and well-being, it affects the health of everyone around you but most especially children who are not yet eligible for the vaccine and who are extremely vulnerable to the Delta variant. They are counting on the adults around them to keep them safe and protect them by making a choice that is bigger than themselves – a choice to get vaccinated.