Delaware waits as COVID mandates return elsewhere

Cases rise but still a fraction of January highs
July 29, 2021

As the Delta variant of COVID-19 moves through unvaccinated populations of the country, causing some businesses to reimpose mask mandates and talk of mandatory vaccination for federal employees, Delaware is lying low on making any changes for now.

So far in the busy Rehoboth Beach area where vacationers are filling occupancies and swarming the beaches, it is still business as usual following the end of Delaware’s state of emergency July 13.

“I think the visitors, residents, and businesses are in limbo waiting for what our state will do,” said Carol Everhart, president and chief executive officer of the Rehoboth Beach-Dewey Beach Chamber of Commerce. “I hope we don’t go backwards.”

On July 27, the Centers for Disease Control recommended a return to masking in parts of the country, prompting California, Nevada, Illinois, and cities where infections are increasing, to agree with the recommendation. Wall Street has required employees to now wear masks whether they have been vaccinated or not, and Disney’s theme parks are requiring all visitors to wear masks when indoors.

In Delaware where 72 percent of residents 18 or older have had at least one shot, the percentage of positive tests have recently crept up to 3 percent from a low of 1 percent in June. Using coronavirus data released July 23, the rate of positive cases was 3 percent – a third of what it was in January. The daily number of new cases is about 1/10 of what it was in January, and the state’s 38 hospitalizations are less than 1/10 of the January highs. 

There have been a total of three deaths for July. As of July 23, there had been 31 cases of the Delta variant in Delaware, compared to 975 cases of the UK variant and 59 of the Brazil. Officials said there had been no Delta variant cases identified over the preceding week.

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