Doctors urge vaccinated, unvaccinated to return to wearing masks

Mask Mandate
Posted at 9:56 AM, Jul 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-27 10:56:03-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — University of Kansas Health System doctors said on Tuesday's COVID-19 call that masking may be the key to fighting the delta variant.

Dr. Dana Hawkinson pointed out that far fewer people were vaccinated back in March when case numbers started to decline before the delta variant moved in.

"So the rise in this is a question of a number of folks vaccinated and the not enough social distancing and masking, that's clearly been the change in our situation, along with the rise in the delta variant," he said.

Doctors pointed out that vaccinated people can still spread COVID-19, though the risks go down dramatically.

They pointed out that going back to masks can slow the spread until more people are vaccinated.

With no one wearing masks now because of relaxed public health orders, the vaccinated population can unknowingly spread the variant to the unvaccinated population, and unvaccinated people are more likely to see serious illness if they contract the virus.

Doctors think it will require 85% of the population to be vaccinated before the delta variant can be slowed through herd immunity. That would mean vaccinating young children eventually.

RSV and the para-influenza virus are also spreading right now as mask mandates have eased.

The KU doctors recommend a return to wearing masks in public spaces or where social distancing can't happen.

"We forgot that the rules of infection prevention and control travel with us wherever we go," Dr. Steve Stites finished. "They'll keep us safe."