NC doctors suggest wearing masks indoors, in some outdoor situations regardless of vaccination status


GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. (WGHP) — Delta variant cases continue to climb across the country, which has caused leading doctors and researchers to modify recommendations on who should wear masks and where they should be worn.  

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“We are watching Evolution in progress,” Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Cameron Wolfe said. “This will continue to ebb and flow in ways that are hard for us to predict.”  

In the Triad, cases of the delta variant make up nearly 90 percent of all hospitalizations and positive cases. The CDC has Davidson and Surry Counties listed at high risk for transmission of COVID-19.  

About 37 percent of people in Surry County have both doses of the COVID vaccine. In Davidson County, about 34 percent of people have their shots.  

The only county in the Triad that shows a moderate transmission rate is Rockingham County with 36 percent of its population is fully vaccinated.  

The rest of the Triad is listed as having a substantial risk. Guilford County Health Director Iulia Vann stressed that most of those unvaccinated are younger people. 

Gov. Cooper asks NC agencies, private businesses to make unvaccinated workers wear a mask

However, new data suggests that, while extremely rare, the delta variant is able to infect vaccinated people.

“Infections can happen in fully vaccinated people. This is happening more with this particular strain than it has happened with previous ones,” Vann said.  

It is because of this, Duke doctors and researchers Dr. Cameron Wolfe and Dr. David Montefiori have recommended everyone wear a mask in most indoor situations and outdoor events where they cannot socially distance themselves.

“More infectious, more quickly with this, so we are potentially a hospitalization impact a little quicker than what we were doing,” Wolfe said.

Doctors explained that the delta variant has and continues to mutate quickly amongst those who are unvaccinated. As it develops, it begins to spread to those who are also vaccinated.  

“I think one of the things we tried to tell people very early on, and I hope as this has evolved people have understood, is that we are watching evolution in progress,” Wolfe said. “Because of that, because this is a new virus for us, this will continue to ebb and flow in ways that are hard for us to predict, try as we might. If we’re going to become better at trying to respond, we need to be prepared to have a little bit of give and take in the types of mitigation efforts we have.”

The vaccine, however, has proven to be very effective. It has given people a roughly 95 percent chance of not getting the virus. Doctors also see that it decreases how you spread the virus.  

“Those people are shedding virus, and they are capable of transmitting. But they’re shedding less virus than an unvaccinated person, and they’re shedding for a shorter period of time.,” Montefiori said.

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