NIH Director: Delta Is a Different Virus than Last Year; Vaccinated Individuals Can Still Transmit Covid

‘Even though they have a very low risk of getting seriously ill themselves, they could be a vector’

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COLLINS: “So, let me start with the bad news. Delta is spreading. We know it's extremely contagious. And certainly in some parts of the country like Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, it is reaching very high levels and we are now once again seeing case levels per day closing in on 100,000, which we haven't seen since February. So this is really a different virus than last year. And everything we learned about COVID a year ago, you've got to sort of hit the reset button on now how we need to react to it. We also are learning, and this is not particularly good news, that vaccinated people, if they get infected, which is rare but it does happen, they have pretty high viral loads, which means they could also be passing it on to other people. Even though they have a very low risk of getting seriously ill themselves, they can be a vector. That was the reason for CDC saying it's time, in those places where the virus is spreading, which is about 75 percent of our counties, to put the masks back on when you're in an indoor space where it — whether you're vaccinated or not. This is the best way to stop the transmission of this very contagious virus. So those are the bad things."

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