WHO: Fully vaccinated people should continue to mask up due to the new variants

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About six weeks ago, the CDC issued new guidelines that people who were fully vaccinated no longer needed to wear masks indoors. It was thought that they were trying to give an incentive to people to get vaccinated. Dr. Fauci said shortly afterwards that people were misinterpreting the CDC’s guidelines as blanket permission to no longer wear masks even if they weren’t vaccinated. Of course that happened because so many people weren’t wearing masks all along. Meanwhile the delta variant is gaining a foothold in the US and accounts for about 20% of new US cases. As this more contagious variant is being spread, the World Health Organization is stepping in where the CDC has been lax. They’re stating that fully vaccinated people should continue to wear masks.

The World Health Organization on Friday urged fully vaccinated people to continue to wear masks, social distance and practice other Covid-19 pandemic safety measures as the highly contagious delta variant spreads rapidly across the globe.

“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.”

WHO officials said they are asking fully vaccinated people to continue to “play it safe” because a large portion of the world remains unvaccinated and highly contagious variants, like delta, are spreading in many countries, spurring outbreaks.

The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that about half of adults infected in an outbreak of the delta variant in Israel were fully vaccinated with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, prompting the government there to reimpose an indoor mask requirement and other measures.

[From CNBC]

As CNBC states, a full half of the people infected with the delta variant in Israel were fully vaccinated. The vaccinations are still effective against this variant, just less so. Of course the shots prevent against hospitalization and death, with virtually all covid deaths in the US now occurring among unvaccinated people. Even mild cases of coronavirus can cause long haul covid symptoms though, so I would not risk it. (Here’s a link to a list of covid symptoms for people who have been vaccinated.)

At least the WHO is stepping up because you know it will take a lot for the CDC to admit they were wrong to lift the mask recommendation. US culture is so individualistic and selfish. We’re wearing masks to protect each other, including children and medically vulnerable people, not just ourselves.

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Photos credit: Manny Becerra and Rachel Espiritu on Unsplash and Uriel Mont on Pexels

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74 Responses to “WHO: Fully vaccinated people should continue to mask up due to the new variants”

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  1. Haylie says:

    I never stopped. I don’t trust that maskless people are all vaccinated and the CDC has been a pandering dumpster fire. They recommended dropping mask mandated way too soon to pander to the right.

  2. MsIam says:

    I’m still wearing my mask, period. I thought about easing up since its been so horribly hot but nah, not gonna do it.

    • LaurenMichelle says:

      I have 2 Moderna vaccinations, and will continue wearing a mask indefinitely. Many folks in the town where I live refuse to get vaccinated or wear a mask. In fact, me and a 67 year old man are the only ones that have been fully vaccinated out of approx. 2,000.

  3. Bookie says:

    I hate the anti-mask crowd. Their behavior allowed these new variants to form.

    • Betsy says:

      Pretty sure these variants came from places where people didn’t have money for mask or access to vaccines and their leaders didn’t take covid seriously, but yes people here should be getting vaccinated and remaining masked.

  4. (TheOG) Jan90067 says:

    I’m going to add paranoia to this list. I have ALL the symptoms listed for a double vaxxed person (which I am); they are the *exact* symptoms I have with my allergies. So I’m like that scene in “Chinatown”: “My daughter/My sister”…

    But I’m: “Covid/Allergies” “Covid/Allergies”… UGH!

    I don’t use a mask outdoors, away from others, but I sure as hell keep one in my purse and use it indoors and anywhere there are more than 2-3 people in a space!

    • salmonpuff says:

      My oldest recently brought home a cold that has raced through our house, and although we are all vaccinated, we’re freaking out that it might be COVID. We only have the runny nose and sore throat symptoms, plus super watery eyes, and we all wear masks when out in public, but still…I’ve been thinking about grabbing an OTC test.

    • Emm says:

      Same! One of my kids got sick after an outdoor day camp (literally the first time we have let them out of the house since this all started to do something fun) and at first we thought allergies since they actually do have allergies but Claritin wasn’t doing anything and then another kid got sick and now we all are. Just the same run of the mill cold symptoms but since we haven’t been sick since 2019 it’s been kind of miserable for everyone and now I’m wondering if we all have covid!!

      • Abby says:

        Yep, my son went to Lego camp (masked) and swimming lessons one week, daughter went to outdoor horse camp and swim lessons the next week. By the end of the second week they both got sick and both got ear/sinus infections. We took them to the pedi and she said she’s seen more cases of winter viruses right now than ever. She thinks it’s the increased activity for the kids and no masks. Sigh.

      • bros says:

        It’s probably not covid, and it’s probably a very good thing your kids got a run of the mill cold, which is happening all over to kids because of the lack of exposure to anything over the past year. And children need to exercise their immune systems to be fully developed. I am happy my kid got a recent cold from camp.

      • Kristen says:

        Bros: Kids don’t need to exercise their immune systems – it isn’t a muscle. It doesn’t work better if you’re getting sick more often. It works better when you’re healthy (as in properly hydrated, getting exercise, and not vitamin deficient).

    • Angel says:

      Sooooo I’ve had this dilemma and the way I deal with it is to take a full dose of Benadryl at night. If I wake up with the itchy throat and ears gone and the stuffed nose gone, it’s allergies (and that’s how it goes for me) because covid wouldn’t respond to an antihistamine. That’s what has been keeping me calm.
      Also all of a sudden there are a lot of colds going around. Everyone I know with kids has had one.

    • Lila says:

      I understand, exact same set of symptoms and allergy season hits me hard. Tough not to get paranoid.

      Laughing soooo hard at your Chinatown callback!

    • nb says:

      Colds have just been going around this summer now that things are opening back up. A cold has run through almost every employee in my small office plus their spouses and we have been passing it around for a month now. We’re all fully vaccinated so I would be very surprised if we all got COVID and had the same symptoms together. My husband, who never gets sick and is fully vaccinated too, had it lingering for 2 weeks. It’s a pretty bad cold too. Cough, sneezing, runny nose, aches, sore throat, headache, tiredness. My coworker said it was much worse than when she got COVID in the winter. Yes it’s concerning but I think it’s to be expected. Everyone has been in their own little bubble for over a year and now we’re doing stuff again.

  5. Andrew’s Nemesis says:

    The Delta variant is frightening. It can be passed in five to ten seconds when simply walking past a carrier. Please, everyone, continue to wear masks. We’ve had so much suffering, death and sorrow.

    • Heylee says:

      Would you please share a source for this statement?

      • Christina Fischer says:

        Started here, I found it in several (respectable) German newspapers as well:
        https://twitter.com/DrEricDing/status/1406779894785351688

      • CrazyCatLady says:

        It happened in Sydney, Australia. A man with Covid delta infected another man in a shopping centre in a few seconds . They had no direct contact. He also managed to infect a woman sitting outside a cafe again with no direct contact. Sydney has gone into a two week lockdown and it is a huge mess all over NSW as it is school holidays and Sydneysiders have travelled all over our state. Other states are having short lockdowns.

      • McGee says:

        Heylee,

        It was on the Australian news about that fast transmission (just passing by in 5-10 seconds).

        In one case there is security camera footage that tracks the index case exiting a business, where a woman was sitting outside the establishment. She caught it (as did others inside the business whose contact was only moving past each other, a “brushing shoulders as you pass” type of event.

  6. Snazzy says:

    It’s pretty much become an accessory at this point. I get good masks to match my outfits 😉 I don’t see myself stopping, even after I get my second jab

    • Korra says:

      Same here. Through either buying masks myself or getting them from my mom’s stockpile (she takes this very seriously), I ended up accumulating 40ish reusable masks. Even if with no Delta variant, I would still be wearing them. But now, I have even more of an onus to wear them.

  7. EnormousCoat says:

    But the truth is that unvaccinated people remain the threat. They are the ones infecting vaccinated people, who, thankfully, aren’t getting severe cases of the disease. And as we know, there is a small likelihood that the unvaccinated are wearing masks or will. If they won’t get vaccinated, they won’t wear masks. And that means that in the U.S., they are going to infect each other and cause death & infect the vaccinated and get them sick, but not kill them. States with good vaccination rates are seeing a flattening, but other states (mostly red ones) aren’t. Thankfully Israel has a high vax rate so outbreaks shouldn’t be too severe, but we all know Delta is ripping through the unvaxxed now and the fall in the U.S. will be a nightmare. I expect to see some form of the mask mandate return with surges maybe with some regional lockdowns. Thanks anti-vaxxers!

    • Betsy says:

      Yes, antivaxxers are the threat but our under 12 kids remain vulnerable. It’s disgusting that we’re still in this soup.

  8. fishface says:

    ….meanwhile in Australia #snafu

  9. Sunday says:

    Well WHO could’ve seen that coming?! haha, but no really, I’m furious. I’m not sure which scenario is worse: that the CDC put out that completely batsh*t, irresponsible statement because they’re cowards and bent to political pressure over saving lives, or because they truly, actually thought it would incentivize people to get vaccinated as opposed to just inspiring them to throw all their masks in the trash and start open-mouth panting on everyone??

    There’s no putting the toothpaste back in the tube. Countdown to the Epsilon variant emerging due to rapid spread and mutations among that unmasked magat masses in 3, 2,…

  10. Abby says:

    Sigh. I *just* started getting comfortable not wearing a mask in public indoor spaces when I’m not with my kids. Like within the last week. But I still carry masks. Guess I’ll go back to doing that!

    I really wish the CDC hadn’t dropped the mask mandates so quickly. That horse has left the barn. They’re never going to get Americans to agree to do it as a group again. I wish we weren’t as a country such entitled jerks. We’re so lucky that the Biden administration was obsessed with vaccine distribution. Otherwise we’d be much worse off.

  11. Mel says:

    We still mask indoors but outdoors I don’t really. I’ll be wearing a mask on the train, bus and in cabs until the end of time.

  12. EM says:

    Incredibly irresponsible for the CDC to put out that announcement about vaccinated people not having to wear masks. I never stopped wearing my mask even though I am vaccinated. I got incredibly sick from the second dose of Pfizer – was ill for five days. I can only imagine if I had gotten covid, I would have been at death’s door.

  13. Lauren says:

    The mandatory statewide order of mask-wearing in open spaces was just abolished in Italy, but we are still required to wear them indoors and even outdoors when in a situation where social distancing is not possible. I for once am going to continue wearing my mask especially since I’m not fully vaxxed yet. I got my first dose last Friday and my next one is due in august, no way I’m going to go around people without protection.

  14. thaisajs says:

    I live in Virginia and they just dropped our indoor mask mandate within the last month. The positivity rate (per 100,000 people) in my county last week was .8 percent. Down from 32 percent in December. Only this weekend did I stop wearing a mask indoors when we went to the book store. I’m not anti-mask by any means and my kid still wears one when she’s out — heck she’s even wearing it outdoors at summer camp. But man, really? What’s the point of getting vaccinated if you have no protection from anything? The mixed messages here are really troubling. We’re already having problems getting more Americans to get vaccinated.

    • EM says:

      From my understanding, fully vaxxed folks can be carriers of the virus and be asymptomatic. If they’re not wearing a mask, they can pass it on to non vaxxed people. Really everything would be better if people just put on their big boy and big girl pants and got vaccinated. But the US is full of idiots so we are going to be dealing with covid for a long time.

      • thaisajs says:

        Agreed. I can’t wait until we have approved vaccines for the under 12s because I worry a lot about kids passing it to each other. Even if the mortality rate of kids is extremely low, they’ll still continue to pass it along to older unvaccinated people.

    • DiegoInSF says:

      This also has me wondering what’s the point, we got the vaccine to be able to not wear a mask. They really should start checking vaccination status at places, California gov came out with a QR code you can access once you get vaccinated. Stop coddling anti-vaxxers!

    • Jess says:

      You do have protection when you get vaccinated, it keeps you from getting deathly ill or being hospitalized. I work in urgent care and we’re starting to see more positive cases from vaccinated people, but their symptoms are much milder, in some it’s only sniffles or GI upset.

      • ME says:

        That’s good to know but why are people going to Urgent Care for the sniffles or upset stomach ? Is Urgent Care the only place to get a fast Covid test or something?

      • Case says:

        @ME Urgent care is a popular location to get a COVID test by me!

      • Jess says:

        People come to urgent care for everything from sniffles to chest pain and stroke symptoms. You’d be surprised, lol. Lots of places here have covid tests but we have a molecular rapid that’s very accurate and used for travel as well, so we stay busy.

    • 2lazy4username says:

      I didn’t get the vaccine to not wear my mask; I got it to protect those who cannot get vaccinated and to protect me from Covid death. I will continue to mask up until there is more data about how these new variants affect the vaccinated peeps. And until those under 12 I love can be vaccinated.

  15. Becks1 says:

    My state is dropping the emergency order on July 1 and no longer requiring anyone – schools, childcare, indoor spaces – to require masks. But businesses can choose to have mask requirements if they want. I live in a fairly red county so I’m assuming masks will be a thing of the past as soon as July 1 hits. I still carry one with me though and if I feel uncomfortable I wear it. I’m not indoors too much at this point in the year though.

    • Emm says:

      My state dropped the masks and now they are dropping the dashboard on July 1st because ya know, the pandemic is OVER people!! 55% unvaccinated in my county and it hasn’t budged in about a month so I’m guessing none of these people are getting it either. I hate living here.

  16. TheOriginalMia says:

    I’m still wearing my mask. Too many non-vaccinated out there without theirs.

  17. Heylee says:

    I’m curious if anyone has seen data coming out regarding covid long haul resulting from fully vaccinated people getting covid? The study linked in this post about long haulers doesn’t address vaccination status. Based on my understanding of the protection provided by vaccines and the dramatic reduction in viral load in vaccinated + infected people, I wonder if long haul syndrome is also reduced by vaccination? I know that unvaccinated people that are asymptomatic can have high viral loads so maybe an overall reduction in viral load of vaccinated + infected helps protect against long haul syndrome? This is me grasping at hope. I got vaccinated to prevent death and severe disease but I also hope I don’t get a mild covid case now that is followed by a long haul experience.

  18. ME says:

    A fully vaccinated co-worker who already had Covid later gets it again and gave it to someone else who was fully vaccinated? Jeez that’s insane. It just feels like this is never going to be over. We could have prevented variants if EVERYONE had behaved and did what they were supposed to. I’m Indian, and I can tell you most people in India don’t give a damn about the virus. There is virtually no mask wearing and no social distancing there. There are going to be so many more variants created by people in many countries including the U.S.

    • Case says:

      I almost wonder if this person who tweeted that contracted it elsewhere? I think it’s very very very unlikely for a fully vaccinated person to give COVID to another fully vaccinated person, because you don’t transmit as much of the virus. Perhaps that changes with Delta, I don’t know, it just sounds so unfortunate!

      • ME says:

        It’s really unfortunate and I do wonder if that was truly how the person got infected. But still, the fact a person who had Covid, then got fully vaccinated, was still able to contract Covid a second time, just shows we know nothing about this virus. The Delta variant is pretty serious and there is now a Delta Plus variant going around as well. Will this nightmare ever end?

  19. girl_ninja says:

    I’m still wearing my mask and just bought a batch of masks. I am all about them and don’t plan on giving them up in the foreseeable future.

  20. Seraphina says:

    Fully vaccinated and I still take precautions of social distancing, mask wearing, sanitizer and avoiding crowds. I get strange looks but I don’t care. I know people who are fully vaccinated and still caught COVID. The vaccine is to keep us out of hospitals and off ventilators – that is all.

  21. Lex says:

    Our Oklahoma governor (the first to get COVID I think) never issued a mask mandate and doesn’t trust them. This is a red state full of trump believers. People here never really believed COVID is real, I don’t see many masked people anywhere and restaurants are as full as 2018. In a state that is less than 40% fully vaccinated, we don’t stand a chance.

    • ME says:

      It’s being reported there is a good chance global lockdowns will return by the Fall. This is why I don’t understand how the f*ck the Olympics are happening. Stupidity to the fullest !

  22. Elizabeth says:

    In the UK, even fully vaccinated people have been hospitalized with this variant:

    “The other thing that we’re observing about the U.K. experience right now is it’s not having the same impact. So they’ve had about 90,000 cases, they’ve had about 1,000 hospitalizations. The vast majority are in people who are unvaccinated. Only 8% of people who have been fully vaccinated are among the hospitalized patients,” Gottlieb said.

    Source: CBS News, “Gottlieb says parts of U.S. could see “very dense outbreaks” as Delta variant spreads,” June 28, 2021.

  23. Case says:

    I never stopped wearing a mask indoors, and I won’t anytime soon. I’m furious with the CDC for making this reckless recommendation. They KNEW once they made that announcement they couldn’t undo it and ask people to wear masks again. They blew it.

    Thankfully where I live cases have not increased since lifting the mask mandate; I hope that continues.

  24. Jessica says:

    I *just* started going into stores without a mask (been fully vaxxed since the beginning of May) and it’s been pretty uncomfortable for me, so I’m cool with going back to all the time masking. I wish everyone would just stfu and get vaccinated, it’s so dumb that it’s such a struggle. But I shouldn’t be surprised, look at how resistant people are to getting a flu shot each year

  25. Lala11_7 says:

    I’m glad that I TRULY educated myself about viruses during the HIV pandemic in the 80s when I was a teen & stayed on top of that…cause that has given me the knowledge & confidence to act appropriately regarding this …We live in a country where the access to viable healthcare for ALL is non-existent…just based on THAT…I ain’t taking off my mask….

  26. KNy says:

    I’m in NYC so all stores (that I go to, anyway) are still doing masks which I appreciate. Only in the last month will I walk the dog maskless, though I stay away from people. I have gotten together a handful of times with fully vaccinated friends but no crowds or anything. Thankfully, even my trumpy family members have gotten vaccinated. While obviously it’s still possible to get COVID while vaccinated, the serious complications and death are thankfully much more rare in the fully vaccinated. Best to be careful, but the vaccine makes me feel less afraid.

  27. Leah says:

    I haven’t stopped wearing the mask even though I’m vaxxed.

    The only time it comes down is when I’m outside and there is no one else around. I totally blame people like my neighbors who still think the virus is a hoax for not being able to unmask in the hallway. Neighbor: College kid, thinks she’s invincible, parents are paying her rent so she doesn’t gaf because she doesn’t have to work for her keep. Wish that she’d move out because we have a lot of vulnerable people here. There’s no ventilation in that hallway so whatever variant she’s coughing up will remain. I’m so tired of selfish people when it comes to this virus.

  28. Public Enema #2 says:

    A family member recently passed (not from Covid), and their funeral director says tons of people are still dying from it but it isn’t being reported.

    • AMA1977 says:

      I want to know how the funeral director is privy to that “information”. I work in that industry and I find it excessively difficult to believe that other causes of death are being listed instead of COVID-related complications. That sounds conspiracy-theory-ish to me. And funeral directors only know what comes in on the death certificate, they don’t have some underground pipeline to “real” information.

      I can’t wait until my 8 year-old can get vaxxed, then I will feel much more relaxed. I worry about her every time I go grocery shopping (really still the only place I go) and I will keep wearing my mask indoors to protect her more fully. I wish the anti-vax/anti-mask a-holes would all just associate with each other and leave those of us who follow the rules and care about public health alone.

  29. Amy says:

    There is a base rate fallacy many are falling into wrt Delta infections in Israel. So much of the population is vaccinated that the number of infected persons In the vaccinated cohort seem high but are in fact exactly in line with the stated efficacy of the vaccines. I hope this is helpful!

    https://mobile.twitter.com/Jeffely/status/1408500890999328770

    • Abby says:

      Yes, I saw this (Your Local Epidemiologist on Facebook is very helpful). I’m not *that* worried. Just going back to wearing the masks I’ve been mostly wearing for months even though I’m fully vaccinated.

      But still. WHO re-emphasizing masks when the CDC said we don’t need them just frustrates the crap out of me.

  30. 2lazy4username says:

    I recently flew for the first time since March 2020. All it did was reinforce my loathing for humanity. Federal mandate my ass. The woman next to my boyfriend and I, and her trashy friends, refused to wear a mask during the entire flight because “MY RIGHTS ,MY RIGHTS!”
    The flight attendants made multiple announcements, about the federal law, came by and reminded them (all too gently) to pull up their masks, all to no avail. They didn’t give a damn about anybody but themselves, and the airlines are too afraid to “offend” people and lose business. I was ready to cut a b*tch.

    With the new variant and all the unknowns, and seeing how few f*cks people give about others, I don’t plan on flying again anytime soon.

    • Nyro says:

      I don’t know why masking was ever sold as something to do for your neighbor as opposed to yourself. This isn’t the Greatest Generation of WW2. We’re more selfish that we’ve ever been. Masking up should always have been about protecting yourself, period.

  31. Amelie says:

    More and more people here in CT are no longer wearing masks indoors, customers and employees alike. I seem to be in the minority wearing my mask indoors but I am not stopping just because it’s summer. I did eat indoors recently at some restaurants in NYC but I will be avoiding that as much as possible in the future. I refuse to go to any movies, indoors concerts, etc. where tons of people will congregate unmasked.

  32. Jennifer says:

    Just some science for you guys- variants are not created in people with healthy immune systems. They mostly are created in immunocompromised people who are infected for long periods of time. Most people are infected for about two weeks.

  33. Lipreng says:

    My fully vaccinated boyfriend came down with mild cold symptoms the other week. I am also vaccinated and woke up Saturday morning feeling like I was hit by a truck. Fighting a 103.2 fever and feeling so cold I break down crying sometimes, vomiting, headache, sore throat. Waiting to get my covid results back. Will keep you guys updated.

    • Emm says:

      Omg how frightening! I hope you are feeling better tonight and it’s not covid but just the worst cold you’re ever had.

  34. Meg says:

    Ugh I was so ready to go back to trivia/game nights at meetup events, yoga in person, get my hair cut, etc. I’m so ready to be done with this already

  35. Amando says:

    I started to let my guard down a bit with not wearing a mask in public places, but then I caught a cold right away and now I’m back to 100% masking it. It was a HUGE mistake for the CDC to make that call in May. WAY too soon. I think everything should remain open, but with the stipulation that everyone wears a mask until at least December.

  36. Nyro says:

    Yeah,we never should have eased off of masking indoors, especially when it was clear that the MAGA crowd were not getting vaccinated. I’m wearing my mask and social distancing while indoors.

  37. The Recluse says:

    We still wear our masks as much as possible…that virus is still out there and it’s mutating.