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Munson Minutes | Masking and the COVID-19 Delta Variant

Published on Sep. 15, 2021

Returning to universal masking yet again may feel unthinkable – but with the Delta variant, protecting our most vulnerable populations, especially those who are currently unable to receive the vaccine, is more important than ever before. In this episode of Munson Minutes, Christopher Ledtke, MD, an infectious disease expert with Munson Healthcare, shares the many reasons why we should all be masking regardless of our vaccine status.

If you have COVID-related questions, or any health questions at all, call Munson Healthcare Ask-A-Nurse at 231-935-0951 for advice. Our team of registered nurses is here for you 24 hours a day at no charge.

Dr. Ledtke, MD, Infectious Disease

We're experiencing another COVID-19 surge, this time with the highly contagious Delta variant. Locally we have seen significant increases in new daily cases, hospitalization rates and percent test positivity.  However, certain parts of the country are experiencing extensive community spread, and their health care systems have been pushed to the breaking point.

In order for COVID-19 to spread in the community, two things must be present: Susceptible people and a way to reach them.

The best way to decrease the number of susceptible people is vaccination. We need to vaccinate as many community members as possible to halt local spread. The COVID-19 vaccines are safe, and highly effective to reduce the risk of death and hospitalization if you do contract COVID-19.

To further decrease the ability of the virus to reach susceptible people, mitigation efforts like masking and distancing more than 6 feet from others outside your immediate household are encouraged. It’s important to follow the recommendations put forth by the CDC to utilize indoor masking regardless of vaccination status.

We have seen record numbers of newly diagnosed children with COVID-19 during this surge, many of whom have required hospitalization. This likely reflects the opportunistic nature of this virus to infect susceptible people, in this case, children who are not yet able to be vaccinated.

To help protect our children, we strongly support mask wearing in indoor environments, such as schools. Without masks, we fear this virus will spread even faster throughout our communities and impact our schools. Masks work best when everyone is masked and masked well. Together we can stop the spread and keep our communities and children safe.

That’s it for this episode of Munson Minutes. We’ll see you next time.

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