Do I still need a mask? Breaking down the Delta variant and new masking guidelines

Do I still need a mask? Breaking down the Delta variant and new masking guidelines

If you’re vaccinated

As of June, North Carolina lifted many restrictions for vaccinated people. But recently we’ve seen an increase in COVID cases nationwide, largely due to the more contagious Delta variant. That means it’s still too early to let our guard down.

Recently the Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommended vaccinated people wear a mask in public indoor settings in areas of substantial or high transmission. I, however, am willing to go one step further and recommend that we wear masks in all public indoor settings to protect ourselves and our neighbors.

Early research shows that the vaccines offer protection against severe illness from the Delta variant. The vast majority of COVID cases in recent weeks are among unvaccinated individuals. But breakthrough infections among the vaccinated can happen. And a vaccinated person who gets the Delta variant can spread it to their neighbors and loved ones.

Even if you have been vaccinated, wearing a mask when in public places is a good idea.

While most adults in North Carolina have received at least one dose of the vaccine, many people—including children under 12—aren’t vaccinated. Wearing a mask in public can help protect children, immunocompromised people, and others who have not been vaccinated.

Everyone—vaccinated or not—must wear a face covering in certain high-risk settings. These include:

  • Public transportation
  • Doctor’s offices and other health care settings
  • Childcare settings, including schools and camps
  • Nursing homes
  • Homeless shelters
  • Correctional facilities

The state also strongly recommends wearing masks at large indoor gatherings like concerts and sporting events.

Continue to be mindful of others, and follow the guidance of your workplace and local businesses.

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