The delta variant of the coronavirus is changing the game when it comes the United States’ response to the pandemic, and it will especially change how fully vaccinated people face the world.

Changes to face masks for fully vaccinated

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended that fully vaccinated people put on their face masks again to stop the spread of the delta variant.

  • The decision about the face mask guidance came due to a rise in breakthrough cases and because of the high spread of the delta variant.
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The CDC’s shift comes two months after the agency said fully vaccinated people could take off their masks in all situations, as I wrote for the Deseret News. The move was something of a gamble, with health officials hoping that it would encourage people to get vaccinated so they could return to normal.

What the delta variant means for fully vaccinated people

But Dr. Leana Wen, an emergency medical doctor and former health commissioner of Baltimore, told NPR that the CDC moved too quickly in ending its mask guidance. Now, the nature of the coronavirus game has shifted, which will hurt vaccinated people.

  • “Unfortunately, we’re in a situation now where the vaccinated are having to pay the price for the actions of the unvaccinated, “ she told NPR.
  • Wen said breakthrough COVID-19 cases are happening now “not because the vaccines aren’t effective, but rather because of the high levels of unvaccinated and infected people who are surrounding us.”
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Wen told NPR that she still suggests people get the COVID-19 vaccine, which can return life to normal.

  • “We really need to be talking about the COVID vaccine the same way that we talk about other vaccinations — which is that it’s safe, effective, life-saving and essential for the public’s health.”