For over 18 months, the COVID-19 pandemic has altered the way we live our lives and had a direct impact on virtually every facet of our daily routines. Although the arrival of readily available vaccines is certainly cause for optimism, vaccine hesitancy has given way to newer, more infectious variants of the novel coronavirus – mostly notably the Delta variant, which now accounts for the majority of new infections in the U.S. Not only is the Delta variant more infectious than standard COVID-19 (which is already highly infectious), it’s more likely to result in hospitalization, long-term effects and even death. As such, you should take every possible precaution to protect both yourself and the people around you from being infected with the aforementioned variant.
Unless you have a medical condition that prohibits you from getting vaccinated, you have no excuse to be walking around without a COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccines that are currently available offer a tremendous amount of protection against COVID-19, as well as Delta and other variants. Additionally, given how infectious Delta is, this is the worst possible time to be unvaccinated. No matter where you happen to be based, you should have no trouble finding a place to get your vaccine. A massive number of clinics, pharmacies and medical facilities are currently administering vaccines to anyone who wants them. Furthermore, these vaccines are available 100% free of charge, so financial concerns needn’t be an issue.
It’s also important to understand that vaccination doesn’t mean complete invincibility against the novel coronavirus. Like all vaccines, the COVID-19 vaccines provide ample protection against serious and fatal cases of the virus they’re designed to combat. As is the case with other vaccines, breakthrough infections are possible. Luckily, the vast majority of these infections aren’t serious or conducive to hospitalization.
Don’t Take Unnecessary Risks
It would be fantastic if the overwhelming majority of Americans were to get vaccinated. If this were to happen, the novel coronavirus would have a difficult time producing new variants, and true normalcy could finally resume. Unfortunately, this currently is not the case – nor will it be until millions of vaccine-deniers get on board. So, while it may be tempting to take such risks as going to parties, hanging out at bars or dining at crowded restaurants, this isn’t the time to be letting your guard down. Even if you’re fully vaccinated, you run the risk of getting a breakthrough infection or passing virus particles on to unvaccinated individuals.
You should also avoid letting yourself be pressured into taking unnecessary risks. As far as some people are concerned, the pandemic is over and done with. Again, while this would certainly be nice, this line of thought is very far removed from reality. Even if a trusted friend or family member is insisting that you take risks with which you’re uncomfortable, you have every right to say no.
Since venturing out into crowded public spaces can be risky, you may also want to consider running certain errands remotely. Purchasing groceries and other necessities remotely has become particularly easy throughout the course of the pandemic, and the free curbside pickup being offered by many businesses helps eliminate the need to navigate crowded stores during a pandemic. You can also seek medical advice via remote doctor visits and get online prescriptions.
Keep Wearing Masks
Even if you’re fully vaccinated, it’s strongly recommended that you continue masking up in public, regardless of whether masking rules are still in effect in your state or at the businesses you frequent. Masks provide an additional layer of protection, contribute to public health and can help save lives, so whenever you leave the house, you’d be wise to have a mask handy.
To say that the COVID-19 pandemic has affected our daily lives would be an understatement. From the way we work to the way we shop to the way we socialize, the novel coronavirus has facilitated the need for big changes over the last 18 months. As much as many of us would like to put the pandemic in the rearview, millions of unvaccinated Americans and the rise of new COVID-19 variants have placed that dream on hold. In the meantime, you can protect yourself, your loved ones and public health by taking the measures discussed above.