Students show concern regarding Delta variant spread

Birds-eye+view+of+a+COVID-19+testing+center+in+Florida.+The+Delta+variant+and+how+to+prevent+is+discussed.

Photo Courtesy of Matias J. Ocner

Bird’s-eye view of a COVID-19 testing center in Florida. The Delta variant and how to prevent is discussed.

By Mona Alrazzaq, Assistant News Editor

After two weeks on campus, many students and faculty members are showing concern regarding the spread of the COVID-19 Delta variant. 

This school year has noticeably less restrictions than last school year, with no testing required for students who have received the vaccine and many more classes and events being held in-person. 

Although students are excited about this return to a more normal school year, many are still worried about the spread of COVID-19 amongst both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals. 

Epidemiologist Rebecca Lee Smith talked about the importance of getting vaccinated in order to significantly reduce the risk of hospitalization and severe COVID-19 symptoms along with the importance of keeping up with testing when necessary even if you are vaccinated.

“Delta is infectious,” Smith said. “Much more infectious. So that means we can’t simply substitute vaccines with the other controls we were doing. We need vaccines on top of what we were doing before.” 

Smith also mentioned how vaccines do not protect people from infection in situations with lots of high risk (such as crowded indoor areas where people are not wearing masks). Despite the effectiveness of the vaccine at preventing hospitalization and death, caution needs to be taken.

“If COVID is a fire, the vaccinated are wet wood and the unvaccinated are dry kindling,” Smith said. “The dry kindling are gonna get infected first. They’re gonna catch fire first. But if there’s enough of them, the hotter flames will get the vaccinated.” 

Arya Desai, sophomore in LAS, is an international student from India who returned to campus last spring. He stated how he thinks that the University should return to requiring more frequent testing of students in order to help mitigate the spread. 

“Honestly I’m not a fan of the testing, but if I have to for the safety of everyone else, why not?” Desai said. “It’s like a minor inconvenience.”

Since Desai and most of the people he knows are vaccinated, he is not too concerned about the Delta variant or the spread of the virus. However, he still believes people should wear masks indoors and take proper precautions. 

“I think that now people have become more careless,” Desai said. “Like just a couple days ago a friend of mine has tested positive for COVID-19 even though he is fully vaccinated. This probably wouldn’t have happened in the spring.” 

[email protected]