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5 things travelers need to know about the delta COVID-19 variant

June 30, 2021
3 min read
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Last week, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned that even fully vaccinated individuals — those who received their final dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at least two weeks prior — should still wear a mask as the delta variant spreads.

This differs from current guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which relaxed indoor mask-wearing guidance for fully vaccinated people this spring.

But the warning comes as the delta variant strain of the coronavirus continues to spread worldwide. The delta variant, first discovered in India, is quickly becoming the world’s dominant strain and has been traced to an outbreak of fully vaccinated adults in Israel, prompting that country to require people to wear masks again.

To find out more about the delta variant and what it could mean for your travel plans, TPG spoke with Dr. Jenny Yu, the senior manager of medical integrity at Healthline Media (which is owned by TPG’s parent company, Red Ventures), through email.

This interview has been edited for clarity.

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Should people rethink their summer travel plans?

Dr. Jenny Yu: People should weigh these factors while traveling for the summer: vaccination status, health risks and local regulations. If you are vaccinated and continue to wear a mask, the risk of contracting the virus remains fairly low.

For families with children who are not vaccinated, mask-wearing is good protection. In addition, it's good to know where the hotspots of the delta variant are, and the local regulations of testing and quarantine for both vaccinated and nonvaccinated individuals so that there are no surprises to ruin travel plans.

Does my vaccine protect against this variant? Will I need a booster shot?

Dr. Yu: Data has shown that the [two-shot] mRNA vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna) are 88% effective in protecting against the delta variant. A recent study out of Washington University suggests there could be sustained protection against the virus. When and if we will need a booster is still to be determined.

How effective are the different vaccines against the delta variant?

Dr. Yu: The mRNA vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna) are 88% effective after the two shots. The Astra-Zeneca/Oxford vaccine is 60% effective after the two shots. More data is needed for whether recipients of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will need a second booster.

What are the concerns about the delta variant? Is it more contagious or severe?

Dr. Yu: The Ddelta variant is the more contagious of the variants. It can produce mild symptoms in even vaccinated individuals. It is most dangerous to unvaccinated individuals as they are likely to contract the virus.

What regions are currently experiencing outbreaks of the delta variant?

Dr. Yu: In the U.S., the Southeast and the Midwest have higher concentrations of the delta variant, with Missouri having the highest documented cases. Worldwide, the United Kingdom, South Africa, South America (Brazil) and Australia are seeing accelerated cases of the delta variant.

Featured image by Getty Images
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Apply for American Express® Gold Card
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Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
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    Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

    60,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $250
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees