WACO, Texas – The Waco-McLennan County Public Health District is advising people, even those who are vaccinated, to return to wearing masks when in crowded public places.
“The virus spreads so easily that there is a risk that you can still get it [if you’re vaccinated] and that you can still spread it,” says Kelly Craine, of the Public Health District. “We’re really back to strongly recommending wearing a mask in public places.”
The Public Health District has also resumed their daily COVID updates after deciding initially to end them June 18 – as the hospitalization rates have risen in Central Texas.
The Delta variant has reportedly already landed in McLennan County, and being vaccinated may not be enough to protect people against it entirely.
“We know that Delta variant is here, and that Delta is much more infectious,” Craine said. “It has the risk to infect even people that are fully vaccinated, so it’s really time for everyone to get vaccinated to protect themselves.”
As of Tuesday, roughly 41 percent of the McLennan County population is fully vaccinated against COVID-19, while Texas ranks 38th in the country with just under 44 percent of its population vaccinated. The vaccination population will not be hit nearly as hard as the unvaccinated population when they are exposed to the variant.
“If you are exposed and you do get sick, you’re going to have a mild illness,” Craine said. “You’ll be able to recover quickly and not be so sick and devastated, and have secondary infections or end up in the hospital, which we don’t want to see for any age.”
They do believe people are in a better position now than they were when COVID-19 first hit America in early 2020.
“Now we have really strong tools,” Craine said. “We have that vaccine, we have masks, we know what we can do to stop this virus.”