US centers for disease control and prevention have reported that more than half of new infections in the United States are caused by the delta variant of coronavirus. There was ambiguity in terms of wearing a mask.
To this ambiguity, Doctor Leana Wen, a physician and visiting professor of health policy and management at George Washington University Milken Institute School of public health, has provided some of her thoughts here.
Fully Vaccinated People Should Continue To Wear Masks As Delta Variant Of COVID Spreads Rapidly
When asked the largely enquired question “Should vaccinated people wear masks indoor?” Doctor Leana Wen says Masks are a must in places like airports, trains, and hospitals, and in crowded grocery stores.
She also urges that it is better to wear masks in indoor settings also if we are being exposed to unvaccinated people. Chances of you getting the COVID-19 and passing it onto family members reduce once you are fully vaccinated.
But it does not rule out the possibility. Regions like Los Angeles County and the St. Louis area have been encouraging people to wear masks even if they are fully vaccinated. WHO has also issued similar guidance. WHO officials have also said that delta variant will quickly “pickoff” most vulnerable people and in places with low Covid Vaccination rates.
The next obvious question that ponders our mind is, “why wear masks when vaccinations are expected to work against the virus”? Doctor Wen addressed this query by explaining that No vaccination can work 100% of the time.
She further goes on to give an example of wearing a raincoat protects us against drizzling. We will partially get wet; if we go in a rainstorm, raincoats will not be of use. We are sure to get wet. Similarly, if we have multiple daily encounters with unvaccinated people, the risk of breakthrough infection after vaccination will increase.
The best solution to avoid these types of situations is to wear a mask. If you are working in an office where everybody is vaccinated, the chances of you getting infected are ideally zero. This is a special condition where we can stay without a mask!
One of the questions among the general public is that “Does the type of mask matter?” Doctor Wen’s answer to this is wearing an N-95 or KN95 mask is better, whereas double masking is the best! A well 3-ply surgical mask should be sufficient.
She adds to the same that if you are working in cramped and poorly ventilated rooms, then, without doubt, mask up and attend if only necessary! Otherwise, choose to attend the meeting virtually!
When specifically asked about her view on the delta variant of Corona Virus, Doctor Wen says that in the current situation, if you encounter Covid-19, there is a high probability of coming face to face with the delta variant.
Also, it is observed that people infected with the Delta variant of the virus carry more numbers of viruses. They are expected to infect others as well.
Answering yet another question is whether unvaccinated people still need to wear masks? For this Doctor, Leanna Wen says that for unvaccinated people, the guidance of masks has not changed at all! In fact, unvaccinated people need to wear masks indoors when other people’s vaccination status is unknown or unvaccinated.
Especially children under 12 should be taken utmost care of wearing masks indoors.
A lot of people who are vaccinated are wearing masks, and those who are unvaccinated are roaming without masks! She concludes with a strong statement – “If we are in a dilemma whether to put the mask on or not, I would with no doubt go with caution side and just put the mask on!”