Delta, Vaccines, & Masking Up — FAQ
Feeling confused or overwhelmed by all the information out there? You’re not alone. Read on to find answers to some of your questions about delta, vaccines, masking, and more.
Q: Why is the mask mandate back?
A: We’re currently having a huge spike in COVID-19 cases and area hospitals are filling up quickly.
By masking up now, we can help slow the spread so our healthcare systems don’t get completely overwhelmed and so we can prevent loss of life.
One cause of this huge jump in new cases is the highly contagious Delta variant, which is spreading quickly across our state and country.
Q: What’s the deal with Delta? Where did it come from?
A: Delta is a COVID-19 variant – a.k.a. a mutation.
When viruses spread from person to person, they mutate and take on new characteristics.
Think of how the flu is worse some years than others — one of the main factors causing that is the way that the virus constantly changes and finds new ways to survive.
In this case, the Delta variant has mutated to be stronger and more contagious than the original strain: you’re about twice as likely to catch it or be hospitalized by it.
Because of that, our case numbers have skyrocketed. The Delta variant now makes up 95% of new cases in Missouri.
The best way to stop new variants like Delta from forming is to stop the virus from spreading. The best way to stop the spread is vaccination.
Q: Do vaccines work against Delta?
A: Yes! All three vaccines (Pfizer, Moderna, J&J) are highly effective at protecting you from all strains of COVID-19, including the Delta variant.
Q: If I’m fully vaccinated, why do I still have to wear a mask?
A: No vaccine is 100% effective. Because the Delta variant is so contagious, it’s leading to a higher percentage of breakthrough cases than we saw just a few months ago.
Fully vaccinated people who become infected can still spread it to others — including young kids, immunocompromised people, and other unvaccinated people.
Masking up helps protect yourself, your kids, and everyone else!
Q: Wait, so if vaccinated people can still get it, is there a point to getting vaccinated?
If you’re fully vaccinated, you’re much less likely to catch COVID-19. And if you do, you’re WAY less likely to experience serious illness or be hospitalized.
Right now, nearly all new hospitalizations and deaths are unvaccinated people. Getting vaccinated is the best thing you can do to protect yourself.
Q: What about me? I’ve had COVID-19 already — aren’t I immune now?
A: Not necessarily. People who’ve had COVID-19 before can become re-infected.
Recently, the CDC found the odds of a person getting re-infected are much lower if they get vaccinated. It is recommended to get vaccinated and not rely on natural immunity alone.
Q: Well, I’m young and healthy, so why should I bother? Doesn’t COVID-19 just affect the elderly?
A: Nope. It’s a common misconception that only elderly people are getting seriously sick — but that isn’t true. The average person hospitalized for COVID-19 now is in their 50s, a decade younger than in January 2021.
While it’s uncommon for young kids to get seriously sick from COVID-19, it is possible. Children can also carry the disease just like anyone else. As kids return to their classes with a more powerful strain of COVID-19, schools represent a possible source of outbreaks that could impact the surrounding community, too — something we’ve already seen happen with summer camps.
The more the virus spreads, the greater the chance for more mutations that we’ll have to fight — maybe even one more powerful than Delta. Whatever your age, helping to stop the spread benefits you and everyone else.
Q: Well, I guess we just have to get used to this and carry on. We can’t stop viruses, right?
The US has eliminated 8 diseases since 1905. Most recently, we’ve stopped:
- Polio (1979)
- Measles (2000)
- Rubella (2004)
- Diphtheria (2012)
…all via vaccine.
And there are even more viruses that, while not eliminated, have been brought under control. It’s possible COVID-19 could someday join that list now that we have effective, free vaccines available — but we need your help.
Q: What can I do to help stop Delta from spreading?
A: Based on current research, we recommend:
- Staying home if you’re sick. Even if your symptoms are please play it safe and get tested!
- Masking up indoors and in crowds.
- If you don’t know someone’s vaccination status, keep your social distance.
- Protecting kids younger than 12 by ensuring adults around them are vaccinated.
- Taking extra precautions if you’re unvaccinated, elderly, immunocompromised, or otherwise at risk.
- Keep washing your hands!
- Sharing this information with your friends and family
We know everyone is tired – but we’ll get through this together. Thank you for helping us keep our community safe!
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