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As much as we want to be done with COVID-19, it is not done with us. We are learning that coronavirus is evolving and changing rapidly, including the highly contagious delta variant. Without broad vaccination adoption, viral mutations like the delta variant will continue to present challenges.

New CDC Guidelines
On July 27, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that even people fully vaccinated against the coronavirus should resume wearing masks in schools and public indoor spaces in parts of the country where the virus is surging, to prevent further spread of the delta variant.

Thirteen of Arizona’s 15 counties fall into the substantial or high categories, according to the CDC. Only Yuma and Cochise counties, which are in the moderate range, are below the threshold.

"In recent days I have seen new scientific data from recent outbreak investigations showing that the delta variant behaves uniquely differently from past strains of the virus that cause COVID-19," Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the CDC, told a media briefing on Tuesday.

When the CDC previously revised its guidance on May 13 for vaccinated people to unmask, the delta variant only represented 1% of reported infections. Now, according to the CDC, it represents at least 83% of cases. With only 51% of Arizonans vaccinated with at least one dose, we have not reached critical mass for protection, and the risk remains high.

Of great concern are the millions of unvaccinated Arizonans becoming sick. Since March 2021, 98% of the state’s COVID-19 deaths have been people who are NOT fully vaccinated, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services.

"Throughout this pandemic, BCBSAZ has supported the guidance of the country’s top health and medical experts, including the CDC. We know that vaccinations, masking, and physical distancing are proven, effective measures in this fight," said Dr. James Napoli, Chief Medical Officer at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona. "We are not done yet, but we will get through this together."

How to get vaccinated
If you haven’t been vaccinated yet, do your part to stick it to COVID-19 and find a vaccine. Hundreds of locations throughout Arizona offer the vaccine, including more than 300 offering the Pfizer vaccine available to those age 12 or older. Other vaccines are available to those 18 or older.

Eliminating life–threatening viruses one vaccine at a time
Watch the latest BCBSAZ video on how important vaccines have been through history and why it’s our best shot to Do Life.


Last Updated: 07/30/2021