July may prove to be a pivotal month in the long and frustrating war being waged against Covid-19.
This week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention changed its guidance and now recommends that the fully vaccinated wear masks indoors in areas with high transmission rates.
Some described the guidance as confusing – a headline in one Delaware news website described the move as a flip-flop.
Newsletter readers can check out a link to a story in our Business Reading List below regarding an internal CDC document on the changing landscape and difficulties in getting the word out.
Driving the change are worries that vaccinated people can spread the more potent Delta variant said to spread as rapidly as chickenpox.
Moreover, “breakthrough cases” (individuals contracting Covid-19 despite being vaccinated) could be on the rise.
Keep in mind; vaccines are 70% to 95% effective. So far, breakthrough cases have amounted to a tenth of one percent of vaccinated individuals. If that number rises, it will amount to a significant number of people. The good news is that the chances of the fully vaccinated getting a serious case are meager.
On Thursday, ChristianaCare, the largest private employer in Delaware and one of the largest in northeastern Maryland, made vaccinations mandatory for its 14,500 caregivers (its term for staff).
Expect the largest employer, the State of Delaware, to follow suit at some point as President Joe Biden orders vaccinations or frequent Covid-19 testing for federal workers.
We can also expect lawsuits to follow and the long-running accusations of mask-wearing being an attack on personal freedom or a partisan power grab.
There are no signs that mask-wearing will become mandatory outside of airline or train travel, although some employers and a few businesses may take that step.
A look at the most recent stats from the Delaware Division of Public Health shows eerie similarities with this time a year ago, even though nearly half of the state’s population is vaccinated. (See chart above).
As noted in a story earlier this week, Delaware is one of the safer states for Covid-19 transmission, thanks in part to a 70.3 percent adult vaccination rate. Still, signs point to a return to last summer’s conditions.
None of this is good news for business.
Vaccine hesitancy and individuals who have always approached the virus with extreme caution may be more inclined to stay home and not patronize establishments.
Sadly, the overused expression “we’re done with the virus, but the virus is not done with us” applies. – Doug Rainey, chief content officer.