TAMPA, Fla. — If you've gotten the vaccine and are asking yourself, "I did my part-- why do I still need to wear a mask?" Well, the short answer-- the recommendation on wearing a mask changed because what we know about the virus changed.
Science shows the Delta variant is more contagious than other strains of COVID-19 seen in the U.S.It is impacting people who have and have not gotten their vaccination.
"Most of what we're sequencing now is the delta variant," said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the director of the CDC. "The delta variant is a different kind of beast...So we know it's a lot less forgiving if we don't take the precautions of getting vaccinated, wearing your mask, hand washing."
The CDC tracks the Delta variant by region in the US. Florida is shown below in region 4.
The Delta variant, or B.1.617.2, is the big piece of this pie, accounting for 77 percent of COVID cases.
Overall, cases of COVID-19 are on the rise again. Most recent data from the Florida Department of Health shows the state has more than 75,000 new cases.
COVID-19 is primarily transmitted through small droplets, ejected when speaking. The best way to stop the transmission of those droplets, wearing a mask.
Scientists say along with being more contagious, the delta variant can be spread to vaccinated people.
"The solution to all of this is to get vaccinated and get that hundred million people in the country who are eligible for vaccines, who have not gotten vaccinated, to get vaccinated," said Dr. Anthony Fauci, the NIAID director.
In Florida, less than half of the population is fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
- Who needs to mask up in Florida? Pretty much everyone, per CDC guidance
- Red tide levels in Tampa Bay at their worst in decades
- Despite new CDC guidance, masks to stay optional in Hillsborough, Pinellas schools
- Hillsborough detective reflects on what led him to adopt son of Ronnie Oneal III
- Feel like you have the worst summer cold ever? Here's why
- A Frank Conversation: New podcast explores race, religion, politics and more
►Breaking news and weather alerts: Get the free 10 Tampa Bay app
►Stay In the Know! Sign up now for the Brightside Blend Newsletter