RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) – The war against COVID is intensifying following new information about the rapidly spreading delta variant. It’s now believed to be just as contagious as Chickenpox. That’s prompting the Richmond and Henrico Health Districts to side with the CDC by encouraging everyone to mask up in public when indoors.

“My grandson goes to Hopewell High. They sent him home today, said ‘don’t come back till Wednesday because six people [have the] delta virus,” Donald Hill said.

He is concerned because he knows how hard COVID can be. He caught it twice and survived. Now, he’s learning of the rapidly spreading Delta variant.

“That’s a scary thing,” Hill said.

Health officials say don’t be scared, just take action.

”We really feel it’s important right now. We know you’re tired; we know you’re tired of hearing from us about COVID. It’s really important that if you haven’t been vaccinated, you really consider getting vaccinated,” Dr. Melissa Viray, with the Richmond and Henrico Health Districts, said.

Even though those who are vaccinated can still spread COVID, health officials say it makes the symptoms less severe if you get it.

Now, Richmond and Henrico want its residents to go back to wearing masks indoors, especially when around people they don’t live with. So why all of the back and forth changes?

”Our understanding of the virus is evolving and unfortunately, the virus is also changing over time…It wouldn’t be safe to keep the same assumptions from January as it is now because the virus is just different now,” Viray said.

”Some people believe it; some people don’t. You can’t make everybody walk in the same light,” Tony Reavis said. He says he won’t need convincing. “I’m going to keep it on. You don’t even have to tell me…you have to wrap it up.”

The health department says there are a few factors driving these recommendations, of course, the more infectious delta variant, but also the fact that not as many people are vaccinated as they’d like to see. All of those factors are on top of people having COVID fatigue. Health officials warn now is not the time to forget the world is still in a pandemic.

Copyright 2021 WWBT. All rights reserved.

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