Delta Variant Spurs Appeal for Masks, Booster Shots
As a new variant of the virus that causes COVID-19 spreads rapidly nationwide, public health authorities have taken additional steps to help protect Americans. Most recently, U.S. officials announced plans to offer booster doses of vaccines, beginning with people who have compromised immune systems.
A nationwide spike in COVID cases has been driven largely by the rapid spread of a new version of the virus that causes COVID, known as the Delta variant.
The City of Philadelphia announced Aug. 11 that masks will be required for everyone in public indoor spaces unless all staff and patrons demonstrate they are fully vaccinated.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended in July that even people who are fully vaccinated wear masks in counties with “substantial” or “high” case numbers. This includes all counties in the Philadelphia area.
“Delta variant is more infectious,” says Eric Sachinwalla, MD, Medical Director of Infection Prevention and Control for Einstein Medical Center Philadelphia. “So it’s causing surges in parts of the country where they’re potentially running out of ICU beds.”
Nearly all people hospitalized with the Delta variant have been unvaccinated.
This week, the CDC and other U.S. authorities announced that beginning Sept. 20, a third dose, or booster, of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines will be offered to people who received their second doses at least eight months earlier.
The FDA recently authorized boosters, beginning immediately, for people with compromised immune systems.
Dr. Sachinwalla offers answers below to some questions you might have about the Delta variant, mask advice, vaccines, and what the recent surges might mean for children and the school year.