Doctors concerned of rising delta variant as July 4th travel opens


Atlanta, GA (WJBF)- Millions of people are expected to travel this July 4th holiday weekend. A stark contrast to the same time last year when lockdown restrictions and mask rules were in place.

But health experts say not to let your guard down even if you are fully vaccinated, especially at crowded places like airports.

The White House says two thirds of Americans have received at least one dose, but in Georgia state health data shows 6-out-of 10 Georgians have not gotten the vaccine.

“We are concerned about the Delta variant. It is detected around the globe and in 80 countries including here in the US,” said Dr. Bechara Choucair, White House Vaccination Coordinator.

“The numbers are skyrocketing in the travel industry. We have to understand that we still have variants and people are still sick,” said Nita Cooper, Travel Director.

Georgia has 30 cases of new delta variant but doctors believe the numbers could be higher with testing down significantly.

“We have also seen over the last few weeks the rapid rise of cases caused by the Delta variant across the US. You look at late May, it was 2.7% of samples and by late June it was 20% of the Delta variant,” said Dr. Choucair.

In comparison data shows the Alpha or UK variant accounts for 8 out of 10 cases.

“People who are fully vaccinated are fairly well protected and don’t need to wear a mask,” said Dr. Choucair.

“We still have different variants. You want to be mindful of those who don’t have the vaccine. My recommendation is if you don’t have the vaccine, to use the face mask, PPE,” said Cooper.

As pandemic restrictions ease, doctors say avoid large crowds even if you are fully vaccinated.

“We are still not out of this. Just because you have gotten the vaccine it doesn’t mean you can’t catch COVID. We don’t know what’s going to come after July 4th,” said said Cooper.

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