“The evidence is that this virus is going to be with us for a long time,” warned Jha. “It’s going to become endemic. So everybody is either going to end up at some point, getting vaccinated, or they’re going to end up getting infected. People really have to be very careful out there if you’re un-vaccinated and the best way to protect yourself is to get the shot.”
“This is the most contagious version of the virus we have seen throughout the whole pandemic,” said Dr. Jha. “It’s really very, very contagious. And so if you have significant exposure, you are going to see some breakthrough infections, even for vaccinated people. The good news is those people are not getting particularly sick, obviously, very, very few people who are vaccinated end up hospitalized or dying. That’s what’s really useful here. No vaccine is perfectly a hundred percent effective.”
In the old days, you might say, stay six feet apart, or be with them for less than 15 minutes—”you had to be very, very close with somebody for a long period of time. What we’re learning with the Delta variant is that is not necessarily the case. There’s so much more virus or people were infected, have such high, high, viral loads, but even short periods of time, five minutes, seven minutes, you don’t even have to be within six feet. For people who are unvaccinated, they are getting infected with much, much shorter exposure.”
“I think we have evidence that we can get kids back to school safely, even in the context of the Delta variant, even kids under 12 were not vaccinated,” said the virus expert. “So I think kids should be back and we can do that safely. I do believe in areas of high levels of outbreaks. Uh, it makes sense to have kids who were not vaccinated, be wearing a mask. But I think kids who are vaccinated, adults who are vaccinated it’s much more reasonable to skip the masks. But the key issue is unvaccinated. Kids are certainly un-vaccinated adults should be wearing a mask in places with large outbreaks.”
“The kind of thinking based on some recent data out of Israel is that I could imagine some high-risk people, people in nursing homes, people who are immunocompromised, needing that extra level of protection. You know, I have to tell you a couple of months ago, I didn’t necessarily think that was going to be the case, but the data is evolving on this, but for most of us, I don’t think we’re going to need a booster. It’s certainly not anytime soon.” So follow the fundamentals and help end this pandemic, no matter where you live—get vaccinated ASAP; if you live in an area with low vaccination rates, wear a face mask that fits snugly and is double layered, don’t travel, social distance, avoid large crowds, don’t go indoors with people you’re not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don’t visit any of these 35 Places You’re Most Likely to Catch COVID.