Even for vaccinated people, now is the time for masks and testing, public health experts say
As the highly transmissible delta variant sweeps across every state in the country as the dominant strain of Covid-19, public health experts warn now is not the time to ditch masks or forgo testing.
If anything, the United States, particularly in areas where vaccination rates have stalled and coronavirus cases are rising, is at an urgent juncture in the pandemic, in which continued mask-wearing and testing are pivotal because of how quickly the variant has been spreading, the experts say.
"I think it's critical to be masking indoors no matter where you live," Susan Hassig, an epidemiologist at the Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, said Wednesday as her home state of Louisiana was poised to exceed the peak of hospitalized Covid patients since the pandemic began.
Every parish in the state is at the highest risk level, red, and Gov. John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, on Wednesday announced an indoor mask mandate through at least Sept. 1 for anyone 5 and older who enter places like schools, businesses and churches, no matter their vaccination status.