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Answering common COVID-19 variant questions

Answering questions on masking, etc.
Posted at 11:28 PM, Jul 25, 2021

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — The seesawing effects of the pandemic have inevitably brought a lot of questions from viewers especially with the Delta variant of COVID-19 now circulating in our valley.

Cases of COVID-19 have been on the rise in Clark County over the past few weeks. Much of it is driven by the Delta variant. State health officials say it now makes up about 74% of all cases analyzed in the last two weeks. Dr. Daliah Wachs, a certified family physician, says she isn’t surprised.

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“Despite our robust vaccination rollout and us having just over half the population (partially) vaccinated. It is still surfacing and causing increased hospitalization,” she said.

She says this variant is concerning because it’s more transmissible than the original virus. Dr. Wachs says younger and healthier people are succumbing to the virus with nearly all hospitalizations from unvaccinated people.

“That starts to make us wonder as long as I don’t have diabetes or overweight, I’m good, it kind of reminds us that any one of us could become victims of COVID-19.”

This has led to moves like the employee mask mandate put into place by Clark County commissioners regardless of vaccination status.

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“If these masks provide a barrier to droplet transmission and moisture that can spread the virus, they can cite and tout success at minimizing viral risk.”

Several studies like one from UC San Francisco have shown that face coverings of any sort can help keep someone from spreading the virus. Dr. Wachs says even though there is a small percentage, vaccinated individuals can spread the virus as evidenced by the handful of breakthrough cases in Clark County.

“It provides a barrier. There is going to be a lot of frustration surrounding it. We all understand but it is a reminder that the pandemic is still out there, and some people are dying.”

On social media, some viewers wondered if someone tested positive multiple times could they be counted as multiple cases. The Southern Nevada Health District says a person testing multiple times as positive is treated as one case. Dr. Wachs says that is correct method and says it is possible for someone to have another case if they get re-infected with the virus.

“If somebody resolved and then time passes and then they get tested again, then it should be considered a brand-new case,” she said.