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Health expert explains when fully vaccinated people may want to wear masks for extra protection

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Posted at 7:38 PM, Jul 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-21 20:38:40-04

TAMPA, Fla. (WFTS) -- Many health experts think it’s best to err on the side of caution right now as the highly contagious delta variant of coronavirus continues to spread in communities across the country.

They suggest people who are fully vaccinated may want to put their masks back on in certain situations.

“I think it’s probably not a bad idea, though not required, for people who are vaccinated to go ahead and continue to wear masks when they’re in crowded situations indoors,” said Dr. Thomas Unnasch, Distinguished professor for the University of South Florida Health.

Wearing masks for fully vaccinated people is not currently required by the CDC.

As a reminder, current national guidelines say fully vaccinated people can resume normal activities in many cases.

However, some health experts say it can’t hurt if you wear a mask, especially when inside crowded indoor spaces.

“Just to provide yourself with a double layer of protection because even though you’re not going to, probably, get really ill from this, you could get infected and pass that infection on to other people who haven’t been vaccinated and that’s just going to increase the growth of this fourth wave that we’re in the beginning of experiencing right now,” said Unnasch.

Data suggests so far that severe breakthrough infections among fully vaccinated people are still rare, but they can happen. Mild cases are more likely but still considered to be rare.

“Ones that we’re seeing mostly are people who have been exposed to very high concentrations of virus, either people are carrying on with people who have COVID, who haven’t been vaccinated, or healthcare workers, or people like that,” said Unnasch.

This recent rise in COVID-19 cases has caused local officials in parts of the country to encourage even fully vaccinated people to wear masks again, like in Los Angeles County where leaders issued an indoor mask mandate regardless of vaccine status.

This story originally reported by Larissa Scott on ABCActionNews.com.