The New Normal: Doctors urge people to get vaccinated as Delta variant spreads
The highly contagious Delta variant has now spread to nearly every state in the U.S. and now accounts for one in five COVID-19 infections.
Moderna did a study that found COVID-19 vaccines do offer more protection against the variants.
Dr. David Hirschwerk, an infectious disease specialist from the Donald & Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell, says this is a variant that is more contagious. He says it can also do more damage than the other strains.
Hirschwerk says the most important thing to do to protect yourself is to get vaccinated.
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He says if infection rates are low and people are vaccinated you can skip wearing a mask, but it's important to still wear one in certain settings.
Hirschwerk says you can't tell the difference between the strains based on symptoms. He says they all have similar symptoms.
"The areas that are being hit harder are the areas that have not had the same uptake of vaccine," says Hirschwerk.
There's also new guidance for city workers. Mayor Bill de Blasio says vaccinated employees in New York City can now work without masks and physical distancing is no longer needed. He says it's a direct result of just how many people have gotten a COVID-19 vaccine.
Dr. Mundeep Kainth, a pediatric infectious disease specialist from Cohen Children's Medical Center, says it's a concern for people going back to work because you don't know who is vaccinated and who isn't.
New Jersey also made a big decision announcing it will no longer require students to wear masks when they return to school in the fall.
Kainth says it's important to remember there were a lot of prevention measures in place aside from masks. She says it's that combination of protection that needs to be in place until children get vaccinated.