Local health experts worry about Delta variant while many gather for Independence Day

SANDY SPRINGS, Ga. — As people gather together to watch fireworks and celebrate the Fourth of July, all some local health experts can see are Delta variant numbers increasing.

Infectious disease doctors say the COVID-19 variant is even more deadly than any previous version.

Channel 2′s Audrey Washington went to a fireworks display in Sandy Springs where she says some people had masks, but most did not, which is what medical experts are concerned about.

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Family physician Dr. Cecil Bennett says the fact that most people aren’t wearing masks anymore while gathering has him very concerned.

“My concern is all the patients I’m seeing in my office who are not vaccinated and are not wearing a mask, that is a problem,” Dr. Bennett told Washington.

Dr. Bennett says the Delta variant can be deadly for those who are not vaccinated and refuse to wear a mask.

“When we look at viruses and mutations, we look at surface proteins and sometimes those surface proteins are significant and it makes it harder for our immune system to fight them. So in this case, this variant is a little more tricky than the COVID virus that we’ve been encountering over the last year,” he said.

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Restaurants are also packed as families gather together around the table.

Dr. Bennett says he believes people are letting their guards down a little too soon, and if those who are unvaccinated continue not wearing a mask, it’ll extend the fight against the pandemic.

“They’re trying to mix in with everyone else and it’s a risk to themselves and others who are not wearing a mask. That is a concern. That is the greatest risk for spreading the Delta variant,” he said.

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While being in an open air environment is less risky, Dr. Bennett says it’s still important to wear a mask and keep your distance.