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COVID In New York: Mask Mandates Not Being Re-Imposed Just Yet As Concern Grows Over Delta Variant

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Concern is growing as the dangerous Delta variant sends COVID cases skyrocketing across the country, and while some states are re-imposing mask mandates, it's not the case in the Tri-State Area just yet.

In the race to stop the spread of COVID-19, breakthrough cases, though rare, are creating major concerns.

"Vaccinated people who do have a breakthrough infection are clearly capable of transmitting the infection to an uninfected person," said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

People like New York Assemblyman Nader Sayegh.

He told CBS2's Cory James he got vaccinated months ago but tested positive Friday.

"It was a surprise. I was vaccinated back in February," he said.

Sayegh says he only had a slight headache the day before getting results from a routine COVID test, something he continued to do even though he recieved both vaccination shots.

The assemblyman, who is now quarantining at home, believes the false sense of comfort that some vaccinated people have could send us in the wrong direction.

"We've lessened our guard. We go out to dinner, we go to sports events, concerts, and we're losing track of how we are still in a danger period," Sayegh said.


Because of a rise in Delta variant cases, the CDC has updated its guidance on mask wearing.

Because it's possible for a fully vaccinated person to spread the virus if they do become infected with the Delta variant, the agency is encouraging everyone to put on face coverings while indoors again.

The recommendation is not yet mandatory in the Tri-State Area.

In New York, COVID cases are increasing in every region, resulting in a 2.4% state positivity rate.


New Yorkers had mixed reactions about possibly returning to old rules.

"I can deal with anything except putting a damn mask back on," one person said.

"When it comes to indoors, I'm, like, a little bit more self-conscious," said Brooklyn resident Ana Lucena.

"We cannot control everyone," Brooklyn resident Bakhtiyorr Loikzode said.

"I prefer to just be extra safe," Brooklyn resident Julia Goode said.

Meanwhile, medical experts continue to stress the importance of vaccines.

"We as a country have to step up and continue the vaccination rates at a much higher pace than we're doing now, or we're gonna be in real trouble over the next several weeks," CBS News medical contributor Dr. David Agus said.

Health experts say 90% of people hospitalized because of COVID are not vaccinated.

Editor's Note: This story was published July 31.

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