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Updated on June 22, 2022 7:24 pm
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Updated on June 22, 2022 7:24 pm

Global Statistics

All countries
Updated on June 22, 2022 7:24 pm
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Updated on June 22, 2022 7:24 pm
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Updated on June 22, 2022 7:24 pm
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Do Masks Prevent Covid Strain

Claim: A Vaccine Could Be Ready Within A Few Months

Texas Doctors: COVID-19 Vaccine Should Work Against Mutant Strain

Scientists were quick out of the gates in beginning development of a vaccine for the new coronavirus, helped by the early release of the genetic sequence by Chinese researchers. The development of a viable vaccine continues apace, with several teams now testing candidates in animal experiments. However, the incremental trials required before a commercial vaccine could be rolled out are still a lengthy undertaking and an essential one to ensure that even rare side-effects are spotted. A commercially available vaccine within a year would be quick.

  • Due to the unprecedented and ongoing nature of the coronavirus outbreak, this article is being regularly updated to ensure that it reflects the current situation at the date of publication. Any significant corrections made to this or previous versions of the article will continue to be footnoted in line with Guardian editorial policy.

Some People Are More At Risk

Switching to an N95 mask may especially be a goodidea for more vulnerable people, experts said. This includes the unvaccinated as well as those who are vaccinated but may still be at increased risk, Sax said, such as the elderly and the immunocompromised or people with multiple medical problems. If they need to be in settings where theyre mixing with unvaccinated people or they dont know the vaccination status, then upgrading their mask is very reasonable.

It may be less important for fully vaccinated healthy people to have a high-performance mask, experts said. Combining really almost any mask-wearing and vaccination still provide generally quite good protection, Cappa said.

He recommended that vaccinated, low-risk individuals make decisions about upgrading their masks based on situational factors. Keep in mind, he said, that the longer youre in an enclosed space in proximity to other people, the more your odds of catching something go up. Community rates of transmission and hospitalizations should also be considered.

Delta Is More Contagious Than The Other Virus Strains

One thing that is unique about Delta is how quickly it is spreading, says;F. Perry Wilson, MD, a Yale Medicine epidemiologist. Around the world, he says, Delta will certainly accelerate the pandemic. The first Delta case was identified in;, and the variant soon became the predominant strain of the virus in both India and then Great Britain. By the end of July, Delta was the cause of more than 80% of new U.S. COVID-19 cases, according to CDC;estimates.

A July CDC report on Delta’s transmissibility came;after an outbreak that occurred in Provincetown, Mass., after a crowded July 4 weekend, which quickly turned into a cluster of at least 470 cases. While the number of reported “breakthrough” cases in general has been very low in the U.S., three quarters of those infected in Provincetown were people who had been immunized. According to the CDC, even people with breakthrough cases carry tremendous amounts of virus in their nose and throat, and, according to preliminary reports, can spread the virus to others whether or not they have symptoms.

The CDC has labeled Delta a;variant of concern, using a designation also given to the Alpha strain that first appeared in Great Britain, the Beta strain that first surfaced in South Africa, and the Gamma strain identified in Brazil.

Because of the math, it grows exponentially and more quickly, he says. So, what seems like a fairly modest rate of infectivity can cause a virus to dominate very quickly.;

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Can You Get The Delta Variant If Youve Been Vaccinated

While getting vaccinated is still your best bet to protect yourself from a Covid infection, the CDC has noticed that so-called breakthrough infections can happen in fully vaccinated people .

Like Covid-19, you may not feel symptoms right away if youve been infected with the Delta Variant, and fully vaccinated people with Delta breakthrough infections may still be able spread the virus to others. However, the CDC says vaccinated people appear to be infectious for a shorter period of time.

What that means: the new strain of Covid is incredibly powerful, so even if youve been vaxxed, its important to still take measures to protect yourself and others. Thats where a good face mask for Delta comes into play.

Historical Use Of Cloth Masks

How to use a mask properly avoiding Covid

During the early 20th century, various types of cloth masks were used in US hospitals. Rates of respiratory infections among healthcare workers who used masks made of 23 layers of gauze were low . Cloth masks were also used to protect healthcare workers from diphtheria and scarlet fever. During the 1918 Spanish influenza pandemic, masks made of various layers of cotton were widely used by healthcare workers and the general public. Gauze masks were used during the second Manchurian plague epidemic in 19201921 and a plague epidemic in Los Angeles in 1924; infection rates among healthcare workers who wore masks were low . During the 1930s and 1940s, gauze and cloth masks were also used by healthcare workers to protect themselves from tuberculosis . In the middle of the 20th century, after disposable medical masks had been developed, use of cloth masks decreased; however, cloth mask use is still widespread in many countries in Asia. During the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome in China, cotton masks were widely used by healthcare workers and the general public, and observational studies found them to be effective .

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Latest On Coronavirus From New Scientist

Vaccine evidence: A UK study has found that protection from the Pfizer/BioNTech and Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines wanes over time. Both vaccines provide good protection against symptomatic infections by the delta coronavirus variant, but are around 15 per cent less effective against delta than against the alpha variant. The findings also imply that vaccinated people who do get infected might be just as infectious as unvaccinated people.

The ventilation problem: Maximising airflow in public spaces is crucial to cut covid-19 transmission, but questions remain about what technology to use and how effective it needs to be.;

Taranaki Street in Wellington, New Zealand, during the first day of a national lockdown.

Should I Upgrade My Mask

You should be wearing a high-quality mask when you run errands, go shopping or find yourself in a situation where youre spending time indoors with people who dont live with you, Dr. Marr said. I am now wearing my best mask when I go to the grocery store, she said. The last thing I want to do is get Covid-19 in the month before I get vaccinated.

Dr. Marrs lab recently tested 11 mask materials and found that the right cloth mask, properly fitted, does a good job of filtering viral particles of the size most likely to cause infection. The best mask has three layers two cloth layers with a filter sandwiched in between. Masks should be fitted around the bridge of the nose and made of flexible material to reduce gaps. Head ties create a better fit than ear loops.

If you dont want to buy a new mask, a simple solution is to wear an additional mask when you find yourself in closer proximity to strangers. I wear a single mask when I walk my dog or exercise outdoors. But if Im going to a store, taking a taxi or getting in the subway, I double mask by using a disposable surgical mask and covering it with my cloth mask.

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Should I Turn Down Invitations To Weddings And Other Large Gatherings

Many public health experts say it’s safe to attend if you’re vaccinated, but keep the variant in mind, especially if you’re somewhere with rising cases.

Ohio State’s Miller says he encourages mask-wearing for an indoor wedding or event “because you’re bringing people together from different social networks, creating a great opportunity for an outbreak.”

One case study serves as a reminder that the risk is not zero: Six vaccinated people got COVID-19 after attending a wedding near Houston that was held in a large outdoor tent. All the infected people got symptoms, one was hospitalized and another person â who had received India’s Covaxin vaccine â died, according to a preprint case study.

As scary as that sounds, “there could be rare events like these where people are in an enclosed tent and very close to each other. But the vast majority â the vast, vast majority â of viral transmission is happening indoors,” says Chu.

What Is The Delta Variant

Spreading New Strain of Coronavirus Worries Bay Area Health Officials

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus that causes COVID-19 has mutated , resulting in different variants of the virus. One of these is called the delta variant. The delta coronavirus is considered a variant of concern by the CDC because it appears to be more easily transmitted from one person to another. As of July 2021, delta is regarded as the most contagious form of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus so far.

Here is what you should know:

The CDC recommends that everyone wait until they are fully vaccinated for COVID-19 before traveling internationally. Traveling internationally if you are not fully vaccinated for COVID-19 is not recommended, because it puts you at risk for coronavirus infection, including the SARS-CoV-2 delta variant. This includes unvaccinated children.

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Managing The Stigma Associated With Wearing A Mask

Stigma is a powerful force in human societies, and many illnesses come with stigma for the sick as well as fear of them. Managing the stigma is an important part of the process of controlling epidemics . Tuberculosis is an example of an illness where masks are used as source control but became a public label associated with the disease. Many sick people are reluctant to wear a mask if it identifies them as sick, in an effort to avoid the stigma of illness . Some health authorities have recommended wearing masks for COVID-19 only if people are sick; however, reports of people wearing masks being attacked, shunned, and stigmatized have also been observed . In many countries, minorities suffer additional stigma and assumptions of criminality . Black people in the United States have reportedly been reluctant to wear masks in public during this pandemic for fear of being mistaken for criminals . Thus, it may not even be possible to have sick people alone wear masks, due to stigma, employer restrictions, or simple lack of knowledge of oneâs status, without mask wearing becoming universal policy.

Are There Additional Covid

Bollinger says that as of now, none of the new coronavirus variants call for any new prevention strategies. We need to continue doing the basic precautions that we know work to interrupt spread of the virus, he says.

Ray concurs: There is no demonstration yet that these variants are biologically different in ways that would require any change in current recommendations meant to limit spread of COVID-19, he says. Nonetheless, we must continue to be vigilant for such phenomena.

Ray stresses that both vaccination and human behavior are important. It is striking to note that 99% of COVID-19 deaths are now occurring in unvaccinated people, when most adults in the USA have been vaccinated, he says. The more people who are unvaccinated and infected, the more chances there are for mutations to occur. Limiting the spread of the virus through maintaining;COVID-19 safeguards; gives the virus fewer chances to change.;It also reduces the spread of more infectious variants, if they do occur.

Vaccines are the medical miracle of 2020, but we need to re-emphasize basic public health measures, including masking, physical distancing, good ventilation indoors and limiting gatherings of people in close proximity with poor ventilation. We give the virus an advantage to evolve when we congregate in more confined spaces, he says.

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Do Cloth Masks Actually Work

MIT Medical answers your COVID-19 questions. Got a question about COVID-19? Send it to us at;, and well do our best to provide an answer.

I recently came across this study on cloth masks being ineffective in high-risk situations. The study concluded that moisture retention, reuse, and poor filtration could increase wearers risk of infection. We are being asked to use cloth masks on campus and in other places; should we be doing something different?

The study you cite involved healthcare workers who experienced repeated exposures to the virus due to very close, often physical, contact with infected patients the very definition of high-risk situations. Not surprisingly, the study showed that cloth masks did not protect against infection as well as medical-grade masks.

But unless you are a frontline healthcare worker, this study does not have much relevance to the precautions you should be taking on campus or elsewhere. Remember, since the virus is spread through respiratory droplets, and since people are most contagious in the 48 hours before symptom onset, our cloth face coverings are meant to protect other people, not ourselves. And there is steadily accumulating evidence that cloth masks perform that function well, by containing respiratory droplets before they can be expelled into the air.

How Does A Coronavirus Spread

Coronavirus variants from California now of concern, CDC ...

Coronavirus originally spread from animals to humans and then from person to person. Researchers are trying to work out the variety of ways that the new coronavirus spread. COVID-19 had killed thousands in China as of early 2020 and also broke out in cities across the globe despite drastic quarantine measures.

Early in the epidemic, scientists had learned the following facts about the new virus’ transmission:

  • Coronavirus spreads via respiratory droplets from an infected person.
  • You may be at risk when you are within 6 feet from the infected person.
  • Airborne respiratory droplets when the infected person coughs or sneezes can land on other people’s mouth or nose and cause the virus to spread.
  • It may be possible to get infected by touching a surface or object that has the virus and then touching one’s own mouth or nose.
  • Viruses may stay infectious on surfaces like door handles, etc., up to 9 days at room temperature.
  • Researchers think people are most contagious when they have the most severe symptoms.
  • People can be infectious before they start to show symptoms.

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Why Does The Coronavirus Change

Variants of viruses occur when there is a change or mutation to the viruss genes. Ray says it is the nature of RNA viruses such as the coronavirus to evolve and change gradually. Geographic separation tends to result in genetically distinct variants, he says.

Mutations in viruses including the coronavirus causing the COVID-19 pandemic are neither new nor unexpected. Bollinger explains: All RNA viruses mutate over time, some more than others. For example, flu viruses change often, which is why doctors recommend that you get a new flu vaccine every year.”

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Are Coronavirus Variants More Dangerous

Bollinger says that some of these mutations may enable the coronavirus to spread faster from person to person, and more infections can result in more people getting very sick or dying.; In addition, there is preliminary evidence from Britain that some variants could be associated with more severe disease.

Therefore, it is very important for us to expand the number of genetic sequencing studies to keep track of these variants, he says.;

Bollinger explains that it may be more advantageous for a respiratory virus to evolve so that it spreads more easily. On the other hand, mutations that make a virus more deadly may not give the virus an opportunity to spread efficiently. If we get too sick or die quickly from a particular virus, the virus has less opportunity to infect others. However, more infections from a faster-spreading variant will lead to more deaths, he notes.

How Will New Variants Change the Nature of the Pandemic?

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Vaccination Is The Best Protection Against Delta

The most important thing you can do to protect yourself from Delta is to get fully vaccinated, the doctors say. At this point, that;means if you get a two-dose vaccine like Pfizer or Moderna, for example, you must get both shots and then wait the recommended two-week period for those shots to take full effect. Whether or not you are vaccinated, its also important to follow CDC prevention guidelines that are available for vaccinated and unvaccinated;people.

Like everything in life, this is an ongoing risk assessment, says Dr. Yildirim. If it is sunny and youll be outdoors, you put on sunscreen. If you are in a crowded gathering, potentially with unvaccinated people, you put your mask on and keep social distancing. If you are unvaccinated and eligible for the vaccine, the best thing you can do is to get vaccinated.

Face masks can provide additional protection and the WHO has encouraged mask-wearing even among vaccinated people.;The CDC updated its guidance in July to recommend that both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals wear masks in public indoor settings in areas of high transmission to help prevent Deltas spread and to protect others, especially those who are immuno-compromised, unvaccinated, or at risk for severe disease. The agency is also recommending universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to K-12 schools.

Studies Of Cloth Mask Efficacy

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In 2015, we conducted a randomized controlled trial to compare the efficacy of cloth masks with that of medical masks and controls among healthcare workers in Vietnam . Rates of infection were consistently higher among those in the cloth mask group than in the medical mask and control groups. This finding suggests that risk for infection was higher for those wearing cloth masks. The mask tested was a locally manufactured, double-layered cotton mask. Participants were given 5 cloth masks for a 4-week study period and were asked to wash the masks daily with soap and water . The poor performance may have been because the masks were not washed frequently enough or because they became moist and contaminated. Medical and cloth masks were used by some participants in the control group, but the poor performance of cloth masks persisted in post hoc analysis when we compared all participants who used medical masks with all participants who used only a cloth mask .

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