Letter to the editor: Virus guidelines
To the editor:
We need to view the delta variant of COVID as a whole new epidemic. Cases are skyrocketing, it is much more transmissible and deadly, we don’t fully understand it, and old CDC guidelines aren’t adequate. What guidelines do we need?
1. Everyone needs to get vaccinated. For individuals, vaccination is a strong but partial defense. Delta would disappear if most people got vaccinated. People who don’t vaccinate endanger everyone, including vaccinated people. True medical conditions that contraindicate vaccination are very rare.
However this is not new guidance, and many governments are already doing their best to make it happen.
2. Most importantly, everyone should resume wearing masks to protect themselves and others. Vaccinated people and recovered COVID victims can still get delta and be unwitting carriers, though it is less likely.
3. Everyone should avoid people who don’t wear masks. They’re dangerous. Masks are uncomfortable, but nothing close to having delta.
4. Lockdowns are needed but probably won’t happen. Many states say they won’t adopt them. Joe Biden lacks political power to make them stick.
5. People are not going to stop going to bars and restaurants. The uniform nation-wide guidelines we need for social distancing in those places are politically infeasible, but some governments might pass reasonable regulations.
6. We need a whole new program to address ventilation in public places, especially bars and restaurants. Air in crowded areas should be completely replaced with outdoor air multiple times per hour. The health benefits will far outlast COVID.