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Delta Variant Raises Concerns about Mask Mandates and the Economy

Last week, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that 83% of new COVID-19 cases nationally had come from the Delta variant. The increase is affecting socializing, schools and the stock market. Mask mandates look like they’ll be making a comeback. 

One sign of the seriousness with which people are treating the Delta variant is the new guideline from The American Academy of Pediatrics. It recommended that all students over 2 years old as well as all school staff wear masks in school even if they’re vaccinated. Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institutes of Health came out in support of the Academy’s recommendation, saying masks for kids is a “reasonable thing to do.”

Moderna and Pfizer have both launched trials for kids under 12, but an FDA-approved vaccine for children is not expected before winter. With the school year approaching, schools will be faced with questions on how to safely proceed.

The surging Delta variant also affected stock market volatility last week, with the Dow dropping more than 2% on Monday. However, Columbia economics professor Bernard Salanié said the main takeaway is that our economic recovery would likely be slower than we might have hoped.

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MELODY GREENE is a master's student at Columbia Journalism School, pursuing a career in broadcast journalism. Before Columbia, she earned a bachelor's degree in English from Spelman College and interned at CNN, CNBC, the New York Times Student Journalism Institute and for the National Association of Black Journalists' Student Projects. Connect with Melody on Instagram @melodyverde. JACQUELINE KOPPELL is a journalist pursuing a master's degree at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. She is focusing on broadcast journalism while also creating digital content in her spare time. Jacqueline also has expertise in influencer marketing, having been head of talent at two different agencies. Originally from New York, she holds a bachelor's degree in history with a concentration in law & society from Cornell University. She is particularly interested in covering politics and can be reached at jk4444@columbia.edu. You can follow her on Instagram and Twitter @jackiekoppell.