Whitney Ervin, Features Editor
When Biden announced in January his goal was to have 100 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine administered within the first 100 days of his presidency, there seemed to be a light at the end of the tunnel.
Many on social media were declaring the summer of 2021 to be ‘hot vax summer’ and for the first time in a year we were all able to let out a sigh of relief. Finally, we would be going back to normal. Gone would be the seemingly endless days of Zoom meetings and Netflix binges. Many states, including Alabama, began to loosen mask and social distancing restrictions as more vaccinations were administered.
Then, along came the Delta variant. Primed and ready to put a slight damper on the hope of returning to normalcy.
The CDC wrote about the Delta variant, “In late June, our 7-day moving average of reported cases was around 12,000. On July 27, the 7-day moving average of cases reached over 60,000. This case rate looked more like the rate of cases we had seen before the vaccine was widely available.”
The Delta variant is now the predominant variant in the United States and is more infectious than the original virus. It is all a bit much to digest all at once, and with the pandemic already breeding a fair bit of confusion it’s tempting to throw our hands up in defeat.
Quick Facts about the Delta Variant
- According to the CDC, by the end of July over 80% of new cases of COVID-19 were attributed to the Delta variant.
- The Delta variant is 50% more contagious than the original strain which first plummeted the United States into the pandemic.
- Those who are unvaccinated have the greatest risk of serious illness or death.
- Breakthrough infections in those who have received the vaccine have been reported but are rare.
- Those with the vaccine can be asymptomatic but still spread the virus.
- The CDC recommends wearing a mask in public spaces even if you have been fully vaccinated.
A common question on everyone’s mind is, “What can I do to stay safe?”
First and foremost, the CDC is recommending anyone who is still unvaccinated to receive the vaccine. While there have been some breakthrough cases, they’re not nearly as common as those without the vaccine. Still the vaccine provides a strong defense against the virus.
Those who have received the vaccine are less likely to fall seriously ill if they are one of the few who suffer from breakthrough infections. Many pharmacies are administering the vaccine on a walk-in basis. The RMC/JSU Student Health Center will begin offering vaccine appointments on Tuesdays and Thursdays beginning on August 17.
The CDC’s advice on how to keep yourself and loved ones safe does not venture much from the advice we all received when the original strain of COVID-19 first began spreading. It is advised to continue wearing a mask in public spaces if you’ve not received the vaccine. UC Davis health recommends wearing a mask even if you are currently fully vaccinated, especially when venturing into public spaces or gatherings where the vaccination status of others is unknown.
It is easy to succumb to the urge to throw caution to the wind. After over a year and a half of dealing with the pandemic, many are experiencing fatigue with the whole situation. It is important to remember that in situations such as this, considering your own safety also impacts those around us. To quote the classic High School Musical, “We’re all in this together.”