Opinion | I Have Delta Variant Questions. Céline Gounder Has Answers.

Are we masking up to protect the unvaccinated? A leading epidemiologist explains.

Produced by ‘The Ezra Klein Show’

“The war has changed.” That’s what the leaked C.D.C. document says about the way the Delta variant has upended our coronavirus policies. Delta is astonishingly contagious. It can generate 1,000 times the viral load of the original coronavirus strain, and it spreads with the ease of chickenpox. The vaccinated can no longer assume immunity. The unvaccinated are at more risk than ever. Masks are back. New York City is essentially imposing a vaccine mandate.

[You can listen to this episode of “The Ezra Klein Show” on Apple, Spotify, Google or wherever you get your podcasts.]

I have so many questions about the war we’re now in. What do we actually know about Delta? If you’re vaccinated, is it more or less likely to kill you than the flu? Is it more serious for children? Are we re-masking to protect the unvaccinated, or is this also for the vaccinated? What are the risks of long Covid for the vaccinated? I could go on.

Luckily, Dr. Céline Gounder has answers. Gounder is an epidemiologist at N.Y.U. medical school, a CNN medical analyst and host of the Covid podcast “Epidemic.” I’m not sure if this conversation will make you feel better about the war we’re now in. But it will, if nothing else, make it much, much clearer.

You can listen to our whole conversation by following “The Ezra Klein Show” on Apple, Spotify, Google or wherever you get your podcasts.

(A full transcript of the episode will be available midday on the Times website.)

“The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld and Rogé Karma; fact-checking by Michelle Harris; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Jeff Geld; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Special thanks to Kristin Lin.

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