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CDC Updates COVID-19 Guidelines Amid Delta Variant Spread

New Information Released Along with How it is Affecting D.C.

Just when everyone thought the COVID-19 crisis was over, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reversed direction. Even if you have been vaccinated, wear a mask — even inside — in potential hot spots. the CDC said Tuesday.

“The science hasn’t changed. The virus has changed,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, President Biden’s chief medical adviser, told reporters.

And, they said, it is spreading faster than the original version of the coronavirus that has gripped the world.

The CDC announced that the Delta variant is the dominant strain of COVID-19 that is circulating the United States. From data drawn from multiple states and other countries, it shows that people who are fully vaccinated and retrieve the Delta variant may be contagious to spread the virus to others in rare occasions.

“This new science is worrisome and unfortunately warrants an update to our recommendations. First we continue to strongly encourage everyone to get vaccinated. Getting vaccinated continues to prevent severe illness, hospitalization, and death even with Delta. It also helps reduce the spread of the virus in our community,” said Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC now recommends that students in K-12 wear masks at school regardless of their vaccination status. It is also recommended that students, teachers and visitors be vaccinated as well. Those who are unvaccinated are still recommended to wear their mask in public settings.

The D.C. Health Department released information about breakthrough COVID-19 cases for those who are fully vaccinated along with additional information on the Delta variant that is circulating the world. Breakthrough cases are cases where people who have been fully vaccinated have tested positive for COVID-19.

Currently, 83 percent of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. are of the Delta variant. Within the region, which spans up to Pennsylvania and includes West Virginia, 45 percent of COVID-19 cases are attributed to the Delta variant. In D.C. however, only 1 percent of cases are attributed to the Delta variant.

The CDC identifies breakthrough cases based on if people have been hospitalized and/or died and receives this information from health departments around the country. The D.C. health department stated that there have not been any reports of breakthrough cases for anyone under the age of 18. Most of the spread of COVID-19 is done by those who are unvaccinated.

“It is absolutely expected that there are breakthrough cases with any vaccine. No vaccine is 100 percent effective and we know this coming in,” said Dr. Ankoor Shah, Principal Senior Deputy Director at the D.C. Department of Health.

As of mid-July, a total of 375,988 people were vaccinated in D.C. and there have been only 200 breakthrough cases, meaning only 0.05 percent of people who were fully vaccinated have experienced a breakthrough case.

In the department’s demographic breakdown, it showed that African Americans had more breakthrough cases than any other racial group. African Americans make up 46.5 percent of breakthrough cases compared to Whites being 35.5 percent, Other/Multi-racial being 8 percent, Unknown being 6 percent and Asians being 4 percent.

This information was retrieved by samples of 1,613 D.C. residents that have tested positive for COVID-19. Data was given by D.C. Department of Health.

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