THE NEUTRAL ZONE
Now not even the world’s top health agencies can agree on whether we should still wear a mask.
The World Health Organization urged the public to continue to wear masks indoors, even those who are fully vaccinated. But the Centers for Disease Control in May said vaccinated people can pack their masks away and didn’t stray from that recommendation last week.
The new COVID-19 variants, specifically the Delta variant, “makes it even more urgent that we use all the tools at our disposal,” said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director-general of the W.H.O.
The Delta variant appears to be entrenched in the U.S., as one out of every five cases is caused by the variant. South Africa also struggled to contain the new variant, which now claims nearly half of all COVID-19 deaths in the country. The Delta variant seems to have reached all corners of the globe, with Asian and Pacific countries once again entering strict lockdowns in an effort to contain it.
L.A. County also recommended everyone, even the vaccinated, wear masks indoors, though the county has not yet mandated them. Meanwhile, the U.S. is now the best place to be during the pandemic, at least according to Bloomberg, and Americans want to hang on to that title, even as some regions remain at risk due to low vaccination rates. Most, even the White House, appear ready for a Fourth of July blowout to make up for last year.
Once, We Talked About the First and Third Worlds. Today, It’s the Vaxxed and Unvaxxed. – Slate Magazine – 6/28/2021
Last month, I walked down to a nearby drugstore, a Duane Reade on John Street in lower Manhattan, paused for the doors to slide open, and entered the First World. Beyond shining aisles of pet food and pantyhose, a pharmacist seated me in front of a shelf of Tums and slipped a shot of the Pfizer vaccine in my arm. Stick around for 15 minutes, the pharmacist said, just in case you have a reaction, which nobody does—and it was done.
Americans Are Getting Concerned About Covid-19 Delta Variant, Poll Finds — But Won’t Change Their Behavior Over It – Forbes – 6/29/2021
Americans are broadly aware of the highly transmissible Delta variant of the coronavirus and more than 70% are at least somewhat concerned about it, a new Axios/Ipsos poll finds—but despite warnings from public health officials, Americans are increasingly getting back to normal and do not foresee a new spike in cases from the variant changing that.
Why No One Is Sure If Delta Is Deadlier – The Atlantic – 6/28/2021
Other aspects of the virus’s unfolding bildungsroman, however, are much harder to forecast, or even get an initial read on. Researchers still don’t have a good handle on which variants might cause more cases of severe disease or death, a metric called virulence.
As cases, deaths soar in Russia, why are vaccination rates low? – Aljazerra – 6/29/2021
Anastasiya Kulchina refuses to get vaccinated against COVID. The 72-year-old, an ex-nurse, says that the Russia-made Sputnik V vaccine was developed “suspiciously quickly”, although she admits that her knowledge of virology is not “professional”.
Fearing COVID, struggling Malawian women forgo prenatal care – Associated Press – 6/29/2021
In a country where hospitals are so bare that women are expected to bring their own razor blades for cutting their babies’ umbilical cords, the deepening poverty brought on by the pandemic is further imperiling women’s lives.
Poll: Majority Want No Governmental Action on Coronavirus Delta Variant – Breitbart – 6/29/2021
Sixty-three percent said the government should take no action, considering “the widespread availability of the vaccines and treatments individuals can to make personal decisions on how to respond.”
As Delta Variant Spreads, WHO Urges Masks and Social Distancing – Truthout – 6/28/2021
On Friday afternoon, precisely when almost nobody was looking or listening, the World Health Organization (WHO) dropped a large and dispiriting brick
Now is not the time to abandon all Covid caution – The Guardian – 6/28/2021
When Boris Johnson said his government would be guided by “data, not dates”, the scientific community – for the most part – endorsed the cautious approach. Now, the signs are ominous.