With the highly contagious delta variant of coronavirus spreading rapidly across the globe, a call for fully vaccinated people to continue to wear masks, maintain social distancing as well as other Covid-19 pandemic safety measures was given on Friday by the World Health Organization.
“People cannot feel safe just because they had the two doses. They still need to protect themselves,” Dr. Mariangela Simao, WHO assistant director-general for access to medicines and health products, said during a news briefing from the agency’s Geneva headquarters.
“Vaccine alone won’t stop community transmission,” Simao added.
“People need to continue to use masks consistently, be in ventilated spaces, hand hygiene … the physical distance, avoid crowding. This still continues to be extremely important, even if you’re vaccinated when you have a community transmission ongoing,” Simao said.
These comments from the global health organization assumes importance because some countries, including the United States, have largely allowed people to not wear masks and have mostly done away with pandemic related restrictions as rapid Colvid-19 vaccinations have helped to quickly bring down the number of fresh infections and deaths because of the disease.
According to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, the number of new cases of Covid-19 in the US has been steady over the past week at an average of 11,659 new cases per day. However over the last several months, there has been a significant drop in new Covid-19 infections.
According to the call of the WHO, those people who have been fully vaccinated still have to “play it safe” since a large portion of the world has not been vaccinated and outbreaks of Covid-19 are happening in many countries as the highly contagious variants, like delta, are still spreading across countries.
According to a report published on Friday by the Wall Street Journal, about 50 per cent of the adults who had been infected in Israel in an outbreak of the delta variant were fully vaccinated with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. This has forced the government of the country to re-impose an indoor mask requirement and other measures.
“Yes, you can reduce some measures and different countries have different recommendations in that regard. But there’s still the need for caution,” Dr. Bruce Aylward, a senior advisor to the WHO’s director-general, said at the briefing. “As we are seeing, there are new variants emerging.”
The delta variant of coronavirus is becoming the dominant variant of the disease worldwide, the WHO said last week.
The delta variant was first identified ion India and has now been found in at least 92 countries and the WHO officials have warned that this variant is the fastest and fittest coronavirus strain yet. The WHO has also warned that this variant will “pick off” the most vulnerable people, particularly in places that have low rates of Covid-19 vaccinations.
It has the potential “to be more lethal because it’s more efficient in the way it transmits between humans and it will eventually find those vulnerable individuals who will become severely ill, have to be hospitalized and potentially die,” Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of the WHO’s health emergencies program, said last Monday.
(Adapted from CNBC.com)