Even those who are fully vaccinated should continue to wear masks, the World Health Organization warns, in order to slow the spread of the Delta variant of COVID-19.
Although several countries (including the US) have eased mask requirements in recent weeks, the WHO warns that new, highly contagious variants of the coronavirus could be a major problem.
The Delta variant of COVID-19 is one of the most recent observed, but also one of the most worrying for scientists. Cases are on the rise in the US and as of last week, 1 in 5 recent coronavirus cases was from the Delta variant, according to CNBC.
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Delta variant is set to become the second most common type of COVID-19 in the United States in the first half of June.
Current mRNA vaccines being developed in the US by Pfizer and Moderna are believed to be effective against the Delta variant. However, World Health Organization officials warn that the growing prevalence of the variant means that even vaccinated individuals should not leave the masks.
"People can not feel safe just because they did both doses," said Dr Mariangela Simao, of the WHO. "They must continue to be protected."
The vaccine will not stop the spread of COVID-19. Although it works as planned (to reduce the severity of symptoms and the overall effect of coronavirus infections, thus dramatically reducing the chance of hospitalization or death) immunization will not occur. The vaccine simply reduces the chance of any serious damage.
"People need to continue to use masks consistently, to be in ventilated areas, and to be careful with hand hygiene," added Dr Simao. if you have been vaccinated while the virus continues to be transmitted. ”
So the WHO is appealing to those who have already been vaccinated to continue wearing a mask when circulating in public. This way, people who have not been vaccinated will be at less risk. It is not just altruism that can motivate. If variants of COVID-19 allow it to spread faster, there is a chance that they will mutate further and become even faster, with unpredictable effects even on those who have been vaccinated.