The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Protection spoke on Wednesday about the evidence that vaccinated people can transmit the Covid-19 Delta variant to others, after the country’s main health agency expanded its new guidance. that fully vaccinated Americans wear masks indoors in certain locations. .
Rochelle Walensky said that the “new science” observed in recent days showed that new variants of the coronavirus were transmissible by people who had been fully vaccinated in some cases.
“With earlier variants, when people had these rare breakthrough infections, we didn’t see their ability to transmit the virus to other people,” Walensky told CNN.
“But with the Delta variant that we now see in our outbreak investigations that have been going on for the past few weeks, in those outbreak investigations we’ve been seeing that if you have one of those groundbreaking infections, now you can pass it on to someone else.”
The CDC revised its mask guide Tuesday to recommend that fully vaccinated Americans wear masks in “closed public settings” with “substantial and high transmission,” a change from its previous guide issued May 13, which said vaccinated people they didn’t need to wear masks. in most indoor environments.
The move came as Joe Biden said that requiring all federal workers to be vaccinated against the coronavirus is “being considered” as the Delta variant rises in the United States. Some state and local leaders, including New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and California Governor Gavin Newsom, have already announced such mandates for their government employees.
Walensky also spoke on Wednesday about the Covid-19 threat to children. “If you look at the death rate from Covid, just last year for children, it is more than double the death rate that we see from influenza in any given year,” he said.
On Tuesday, the CDC changed its advice and now recommends that fully vaccinated people living with vulnerable household members, such as the immunosuppressed and children, wear masks in indoor public spaces. Additionally, the agency recommended that everyone in K-12 schools wear masks, “including teachers, staff, students and visitors, regardless of vaccination status,” Walensky said at a news conference Tuesday.
“In the past few days, I have seen new scientific data from recent outbreak investigations showing that the Delta variant behaves uniquely and differently from past strains of the virus that cause Covid-19,” Walensky said Tuesday, referring to the discovery. of the scientists of the spread of the Delta strain. as actively in breakthrough infections as in unvaccinated individuals, despite the rarity of breakthrough cases.
For months, Covid cases, deaths, and hospitalizations have declined steadily, but the highly infectious Delta variant of the coronavirus has driven a sharp increase in the number of cases, particularly among unvaccinated Americans and amid battles against it. disinformation and resistance, particularly on the political right.
“Nobody wants to back down, but you have to deal with the facts on the ground, and the facts on the ground are that it’s a pretty scary time and there are a lot of vulnerable people,” Robert Wachter, chairman of the department of medicine. at the University of California, San Francisco, he told Washington Post.
“I think that what we were most wrong was not anticipating that 30% of the country would choose not to be vaccinated.”
In recent weeks, a growing number of cities and towns have restored interior masking rules. St Louis, Savannah, Georgia and Provincetown, Massachusetts are among the places that reimposed mask mandates this month.
In a briefing at the White House last week, Surgeon General Vivek Murthy said that 97% of hospital admissions and 99.5% of Covid deaths occurred among unvaccinated people.
More than 162.7 million Americans are vaccinated, or 49% of the population, according to the CDC.
California and New York City announced Monday that they would require all government employees to get vaccinated against the coronavirus or face weekly testing for Covid-19, and the Department of Veterans Affairs became the first major federal agency in require that healthcare workers receive the vaccine.
In New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that all municipal workers, including teachers and police officers, will need to get vaccinated in mid-September or face weekly Covid-19 tests, making the city one of the largest U.S. employers to take such action.
“Let’s be clear about why this is so important – it’s about our recovery,” De Blasio said.
California said it will similarly require proof of vaccination or weekly testing for all state workers and healthcare employees starting next month.
Associated Press contributed to this report.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism