Photo Credit: Miriam Alster / Flash 90
Israelis wear protective facemasks as they shop inside the Azrieli mall in Tel Aviv, July 13, 2021.

People vaccinated against COVID-19 can spread the virus – particularly the Delta variant of the virus – just as easily as those who are not vaccinated, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The Delta variant is as contagious as chickenpox, the CDC said. It is more transmissible than the viruses that cause MERS, SARS, Ebola, seasonal influenza (flu), smallpox and the common cold, according to a new CDC report seen by The Washington Post and The New York Times.

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The agency is now recommending that those who are vaccinated – as well as those who are not – wear masks in communities where COVID-19 is surging.

That means Americans need to mask up again in areas where there were more than 50 new infections per 100,000 residents over the prior seven-day period – or in areas where more than eight percent of tests were positive for infection in the same period.

The protocol applies to close to two-thirds of the counties in the United States.

In fact, the CDC adds that even vaccinated citizens living in areas that do not qualify as a “surge zone” may want to mask up – especially if they, or someone in their household, is unvaccinated, at risk for severe disease, or has an impaired immune system.

The criteria include every single parent with children under age 12 – those too young to qualify for the vaccine – or with unvaccinated older children.

The reason: the COVID-19 Delta variant is MUCH more contagious and is more likely to break through protections of the vaccine, than any other variant or mutation of the coronavirus. The variant is behaving differently than previous version of the coronavirus.

The information was released in an internal presentation that took place within the CDC, according to multiple US media.

The CDC is walking back its earlier statement advising vaccinated Americans that they no longer need wear a mask in public indoor spaces, and instead this past week urged those who are vaccinated that they, too, should mask up when they enter public spaces indoors.

That goes for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors in the nation’s school system: all the above are being told to mask up, regardless of vaccination status.

“The Delta variant is showing every day its willingness to outsmart us,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky told reporters at a news briefing last Tuesday. “This new science is worrisome and unfortunately warrants an update to our recommendation.

“This is not a decision we at CDC have made lightly,” Walensky added.

The Delta variant now accounts for most COVID-19 infections across the United States, as it does now in countries around the world.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.