Originally published on Aug. 6, 2021By Jennifer Mayerle

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The CDC on Friday said people who are unvaccinated are twice as likely to be re-infected with COVID-19 as vaccinated individuals. The news comes as concern over the spread of the Delta variant increases, and as large events are taking place.

Dr. Michael Osterholm, the leading infectious disease expert at the University of Minnesota says now is not the time to let our guard down.

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“Right now we’re on a journey,” Osterholm said.

Osterholm says the next few weeks will be telling in how Minnesota fares with COVID-19 cases and the highly contagious Delta variant.

“We have more than adequate people here who are not yet protected that we could really could see a major uptick in cases,” Osterholm said.

And he believes the virus will catch up with people who are unvaccinated.

“If you think you haven’t been infected yet, and therefore you’re not going to get infected, ultimately this virus will find you,” Osterholm said.

Osterholm says we’re going to be counting on the vaccine during this surge. And it’s time to mask up in groups of people.

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“This is not about yes-or-no mask or masking. This is about what kind of masking to use to protect yourself,” Osterholm said.

He recommends using an N95, saying it offers the best protection.

“A year ago we said don’t use them because we need them for healthcare workers. Today we have an abundant supply in this country that can meet the needs of healthcare, industrial purposes as well as citizens,” Osterholm said.

He knows this comes at a time that we’re tired.

“It’s as hard and frustrating for those of us that deal with it. We too are mentally and physically exhausted from this virus, but that doesn’t give us reason to let our down,” Osterholm said.

The Minnesota Department of Health says if you do want to be part of a large event, make sure you’re fully vaccinated. If you can’t be socially distant, experts recommend wearing a mask, even if outdoors.

MDH says it will continue to evaluate the spread. Then it will put out guidance for events like the State Fair, so people can make the best choice for themselves.

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Jennifer Mayerle