Editorial: Bruins must continue to take safety action in light of Delta variant

This article was updated on July 5 at 7:54 p.m.

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The 4th of July weekend can bring long-awaited celebrations and gatherings, but risky behavior endangering public health is not justified.

After more than a year of closures, California finally reopened on June 15. Social distancing protocols are no longer needed, counties don’t have to worry about entering or exiting COVID-19 levels, and businesses can operate at full capacity.

Yet the spread of the new delta variant threatens unvaccinated and partially vaccinated people. The delta variant, which was first identified in India, is expected to become the dominant strain in the United States and is linked to higher transmission rates. It is now considered a “variant of concern” in California.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, less than half of the nation’s population is fully vaccinated against COVID-19, leaving Americans at risk for the rapid spread of the delta variant.

Due to the increased spread of this variant, the Los Angeles County Public Health Department on Monday recommended that everyone – regardless of their vaccination status – wear masks indoors. The World Health Organization issued a similar recommendation a few days earlier.

The Bruins deserve an unforgettable in-person college experience this fall, and students should do everything possible to make it possible.

We must all continue to take security measures to avoid major epidemics that could jeopardize this reopening. Many aspects of returning to UCLA – including the number of students receiving on-campus housing – depend on COVID-19 infection rates and the number of students vaccinated.

Large indoor gatherings for summer festivities increase the risk of the variants spreading. Adhering to public health recommendations, such as keeping events outdoors and wearing masks indoors, is essential for students to mitigate the spread of the delta variant.

However, as the LACDPH mentions in its press release, fully vaccinated people appear to be protected against the delta variant. Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson reaffirmed this finding, stating that their vaccines are effective against the new variant.

This makes it all the more urgent that Californians receive the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as they can.

After all, the vaccine has proven to be effective in reducing the spread of the virus.

For example, almost everyone in LA County who has died from COVID-19 since December 2020 was not vaccinated, according to LACDPH data. Of the 12,234 Angelenos who died from COVID-19 between December 7 and June 7, 99.8% did not receive the vaccine.

For those who have not yet been able to get the vaccine, it is important to remain cautious when participating in summer activities by taking safe measures such as moving gatherings outdoors, wearing masks indoors, and walking around. get tested for COVID-19.

The Bruins have faced tight pandemic restrictions for over a year, but now is not the time to get sloppy. While the holidays are a time to celebrate, we all need to continue to be careful and smart about COVID-19.

We simply cannot afford otherwise.

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Susan W. Lloyd