The World Health Organisation (WHO) says that double-vaccinated people should wear masks due to the rising threat of the Delta variant, as the UK considers dropping mandatory mask measures after ‘unlockdown’
The Delta variant is becoming globally dominant, according to data analysis conducted on behalf of the WHO. It is currently responsible for one in five US cases, detected in 96 countries as of yesterday (1 July) and set to create more waves of death in countries lacking access to the vaccine.
WHO supports mandatory masks
The WHO has announced that masks should remain mandatory, even for those with both doses of their vaccine.
“People cannot feel safe just because they had the two doses. They still need to protect themselves,” said Dr Mariangela Simao, WHO assistant director-general for access to medicines and health products.
“Vaccine alone won’t stop community transmission. 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.”
Delta is twice as infectious as Alpha
In the UK, ‘unlockdown’ measures for 19 July are in discussion. There is the suggestion that the mandatory masks rule will be dismissed for double-vaccinated people, along with strict social distancing, when the country has more double-jabbed individuals.
However, the Delta variant is known to be twice as infectious as the Alpha variant – the second of which was created in the UK, then became relatively globally present. Scientists in the UK suggest that vaccines still give protection against hospitalisation and death from Delta. According to the Public Health England study, two shots of Pfizer make an individual 96% likely not to be hospitalised, with two doses of AstraZeneca pushing the anti-hospitalisation percentage to 92%.
Now, the UK is waiting to see if it can be allowed to visit certain countries in the EU or whether rising infection rates will limit the potential of external summer holidays for the population.
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