BALTIMORE — Tuesday the CDC issued new masking guidance, recommending everyone in K-12 schools wear a mask, regardless of vaccination status, and urging vaccinated people in areas with substantial COVID-19 transmission to start wearing masks again.
While CDC data shows Maryland only has moderate transmission, a Johns Hopkins lung doctor says vaccinated people should still resume masking up, or else it opens the door to let the virus continue to mutate and pose severe problems for the vaccines and children.
"We have the answer. It’s right there," said Dr. Panagis Galiatsatos.
Dr. G said it’s that simple: getting more people vaccinated will help us end the pandemic for good.
"If enough of us get it, we can go back to those unmasked days again," said Dr. G.
Doctor G said it’s especially important while the vaccine is still effective. The delta variant, which is the dominant strain in the U.S. right now, has proven it weakens the vaccine, but it does still work.
"They’re just not at the 94-95 percentile that they were against the alpha variant," said Dr. G.
He is also concerned that other variants, like lambda which is now in some states, might have a similar effect, or become more lethal.
"Suddenly you have a virus that, the mortality rate is in the double digits. It is ravaging communities. We saw that happening a year ago... and if that occurs, it’s on us. It’s on every individual who hasn’t gotten the vaccine or hasn’t played a role to end this pandemic," said Dr. G.
That’s why Dr. G said not only is getting the vaccine important, but if you are vaccinated, wear a mask. Because while the vaccine prevents severe illness, you could still catch it, and spread it, allowing the virus to mutate.
"If you allow this virus to continue to make more variants, one of them is either going to completely outdue the vaccine so we will need a whole group, not just a booster, or you’re going to get one that’s lethal to that one age group that no one wants to cause lethality in, the children," said Dr. G.
He said now it’s on adults to take responsibility for the health of kids under age 12, who won’t be able to get vaccinated until at least mid-fall.
"In 2020, the number one cause of death from infections for kids was COVID-19 and if we allow these variants to stay, one of them is likely to cause more harm to children," said Dr. G.
Dr. G is part of a zoom town hall this evening with the NAACP, where he will talk more about the delta variant. Anyone can participate and ask questions. Click here for the Zoom link.