Op/Ed

Letter to the editor: Delta variant makes masking up more necessary

Since the pandemic began I have felt lucky to live in the state with the highest vaccination rates in the country. However, the present surge in cases in Vermont, partly due to the Delta variant, is troubling, and I believe preventable. I recognize that Vermont is offering multiple sites for testing and vaccinations, which is laudable; however, this is not currently enough to slow the COVID rates down.

The current rates of illness — and deaths in Vermont — are at or near an all-time high. Hospitalizations and deaths are increasing. Phil Scott’s philosophy seems to be, people are sensible and there is no need to mandate masks. Appeals from health experts and some school districts have not made a difference thus far.

I do not believe 100+ infections in children in our schools in just a few weeks since school opened is acceptable. In fact, it is heartbreaking. I do believe that many still believe that the CDC’s statement at the beginning of the summer that those who are vaccinated can be safe in almost any situation without masks no longer holds. The current advice from the CDC for fully vaccinated people: “To reduce being infected by the Delta variant, wear a mask indoors if you are in an area of substantial of high transmission.”

If we truly wish to save lives, there should be a mask mandate indoors. This currently applies to Addison County, which has “substantial” transmission. The elderly, partially vaccinated people, and those with compromised immune systems are particularly at risk. I also believe that unvaccinated people may be most likely not to be wearing masks indoors.

Let us do everything we can to slow the infections and deaths by mandating everyone to wear masks indoors, or in any other crowded situation that can put people at risk. The CDC also recommends that people not attend large events.

The sooner we ask for something as simple as masking up for a trip to the grocery store, theater, or school setting, the sooner we can put this pandemic in the rear-view mirror.

Molly Fitzpatrick

Middlebury

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