Mid-South doctors encouraging everyone to wear masks as Delta variant, COVID-19 cases continue to rise

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — These days most people are no longer wearing facial masks after daily COVID cases dropped and health restrictions eased.           

But with a rising number of new COVID cases and the highly transmissible Delta variant have some masking up again. Now doctors across the Mid-South are weighing in and giving recommendations on what people should do.

With the highly contagious and deadly Delta variant of the coronavirus on the rise, it seems a mandatory wardrobe accessory of 2020 could be making a comeback.  Memphians like J. Jorrell Turner, who’s vaccinated, are masking up again.

“I’m very concerned for my health, other people’s health. I got to keep myself clean at all times,” said Turner.

To mask or not to mask is the question some people are asking as COVID cases and hospitalizations rise again.

“I don’t think we’ll go into lockdown, but it might be  recommended that we start wearing masks again if cases start to go up,” said Dr. Sandra Arnold, the division chief of pediatric infectious diseases at LeBonheur Children’s Hospital.

Dr. Arnold says the CDC recommendations are the same. 

“Recommendations have not changed. People who are fully vaccinated are not required to wear masks, but for people unvaccinated, there was never a recommendation for them not to wear masks,” said Arnold.

Dr. Arnold says she wears a mask because she works in a hospital and has an elderly mother. She says you should too if you have vulnerable people in your home.

“I’m talking about children under 12 who haven’t had the opportunity to be vaccinated, I’m talking about immunocompromised people who may a less than optimal response to the vaccine,” said Arnold.

 Infectious disease specialist, Dr. Manoj Jain, also wears a mask to protect against the Delta variant.

“What I do when I’m in public areas and where there are individuals who are not vaccinated? I wear a mask. So, going to the gym, in a gathering where people are not vaccinated, or going shopping, I’m wearing a mask,” said Dr. Manoj Jain.

Both doctors say to put it very simply, if we all get vaccinated, the problems associated with COVID-19 and its variants would go away.

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