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Covid Delta Variant Safety: Your Questions Answered

Most experts say they use a high-quality medical mask, like an N95 or KF94 when they fly. If you don’t have one, double masking is advised. For a vaccinated person, the risk of removing a mask briefly to eat or drink during a flight is low, but it’s better to keep it on as much as possible. The C.D.C. says it’s best for unvaccinated people, including children, to avoid flying.

Dr. Bromage said he recently traveled by air and took his mask off briefly to drink a beverage but kept it on for most of the flight. He said he would be more comfortable removing his cover to eat if he knew the people next to him were vaccinated. He said he would be more concerned if the person next to him didn’t seem to care about Covid precautions or wore the mask under the nose. “If you’ve got a random person next to you, especially a chatty person, I will keep the mask on,” he said.

Covid Delta Variant

How safe are buses, subways, and trains for vaccinated people?

Most buses, trains, and subways still require everyone to wear masks, lowering risk. While vaccinated people are well protected, viral exposure increases the longer the ride and the more crowded the train car or bus. For many, riding public transit is essential for getting to work or school, and wearing a well-fitted medical mask or double mask is recommended. When public transit is optional, deciding whether to ride should factor in local vaccination rates and whether case counts are rising.

Can I hug and visit older relatives? What about unvaccinated children?

While it’s generally considered safe for vaccinated people to hug and spend time together unmasked, parents of unvaccinated children have more risks to consider, particularly when visiting older relatives. In communities with low case counts and high vaccination rates, it’s generally considered safe for unvaccinated children from a single household to spend time with vaccinated grandparents. But as the Delta variant spreads and children return to school, the risks of close contact also increase for older or immune-compromised people who are more vulnerable to complications from COVID-19, even vaccinated. When families plan a visit to a high-risk relative, it’s a good idea to minimize other exposures, avoiding restaurant dining or working out at the gym in the week leading up to the visit.

Even though the risk of a vaccinated person spreading COVID-19 remains low, vaccinated grandparents should also reduce their exposure when they spend time with unvaccinated children. “I have not been masking up indoors with my octogenarian parents at this point because I am still very careful in how I wear masks in public settings,” Dr. Huffman, the aerosol scientist, said. “But if I had more interactions that increased my overall risk of exposure, I would strongly consider masking up when indoors with vulnerable individuals.” Rapid home tests are an added precaution when visiting grandparents or an immune-compromised family member. Take a test a few days before the visit and the holiday day. You can learn more about home testing here.


I have always enjoyed writing and reading other people's blogs. I started writing a journal as a teenager and have since written numerous books and articles. My blog is a place where I can write freely about my personal interests and those of others.

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