While vaccinations in the US are rising, the Covid-19 transmission rate in most states remains high. CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta joined CNN’s “New Day” to answer questions about vaccines, the Delta variant and more.
Q: Is there any research to show the effect of the Delta variant on vaccinated elderly people in nursing homes or adult living facilities?
A: “We’ve got to really pay attention to nursing homes. What’s happening in nursing homes will give an indication of what’s happening in the rest of the country,” Gupta said.
Eighty-two percent of nursing home residents are fully vaccinated, according to data, Gupta said, while only 59% of nursing home staff members are fully vaccinated.
Between the week ending June 27 and the week ending July 25, the number of weekly Covid-19 cases in the US grew about 4.4 times, according to Johns Hopkins data. But in that same timeframe, cases among nursing home residents and staff grew about 3.6 times. However, in the seven states in which less than half of nursing home staff are vaccinated, weekly cases were 5.2 times higher when compared over the same four-week period.
Q: What should be the message from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health to counties with both high vaccination rate and high Covid transmission rate?
A: In San Diego, California, for example, 69% of the population has at least one vaccine dose, and the vast majority of new Covid-19 cases is happening among unvaccinated individuals.
“The message, at least for the next few weeks, until the viral transmission rates come down, if you live in a place with high transmission, wear masks indoors,” Gupta said.
Q: Why should someone who has already had Covid-19 get vaccinated? Doesn’t he or she already have antibodies?
A: People who’ve had Covid-19 do have antibodies and T-cells, Gupta said, but vaccines offer long-lasting and broader protection.
“There’s even been throughout history examples where people who are naturally infected had even stronger immunity than what a vaccine could provide. That’s not the case here, and that’s just because we have the data now,” Gupta said.
“We didn’t know this for certain at the beginning but these vaccines are really good. There’s more variants coming. What they’re finding is the vaccines are more durable, lasting longer and … offering broader protection against the variants as well,” he said.
Q: I’m fully vaccinated but I was exposed to somebody who got Covid. What should I do? And do I have to quarantine?
A: Quarantining is not necessary if you’ve been vaccinated, Gupta said, but it’s a good idea to get tested.
If you have symptoms, isolate from others and consider wearing a mask if around small children.