With the Delta variant on the rise across the country, some areas in the DMV are reinstating COVID-19 restrictions and mask mandates. However, there are some communities struggling with what to do.
Alexandria Mayor Justin Wilson tells FOX 5 that the city is encouraging vaccinations and indoor mask use. However, they are not issuing a mask mandate for now.
Alexandria has a "high transmission rate," but it also has a high vaccination rate with 67.2% of the population having at least one dose.
Mayor Wilson says the goal is encouraging vaccinations among young and immigrant populations, which is the bulk of unvaccinated COVID-19 cases in the city.
Dr. Jeffery Gold of the University of Nebraska Medical Center says it's not just the Delta variant to be concerned about, but also the future threats of the Epsilon and Lambda variants as well.
"Well as long as there is a high rate of transmission in any part of the world, given the travel that we have, we need to be concerned about other variants," says Dr. Gold. "People are already talking about the so-called Epsilon and Lambda variants which are the next letters in the Greek alphabet as you may know."
"Obviously I’m concerned. I’m concerned any time anybody is getting sick contracting this virus," says Mayor Wilson. "It’s [a] dangerous virus, we've known that from the beginning but [the] message is still very clear. We have three highly effective safe vaccines that are incredibly effective and you can sign up right now and [get] them in the city of Alexandria and we encourage people to do that."
Alexandria is not alone its concern; Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman pleaded with residents to get vaccinated Monday morning, but did not issue a mask mandate.
Montgomery County Council will meet on Thursday to consider a mask mandate.
FOX 5 spoke to DMV residents to get their opinion on reinstating certain restrictions.
"I think it’s up to the individual, and if you’re afraid of being vaccinated and you want to walk around without a mask, it’s up to you," one resident said.
"I’m vaccinated, everyone I know is vaccinated, wearing a mask? I carry a mask with me wherever I go. I have one in the car just in case," another remarked.
"I do think there should be a mask mandate. It’s gotten bad and if it continues to escalate, why wouldn’t they just say everybody get a vaccine?" said another resident.
A regional group of county health officials in Northern Virginia has already recommended that students wear masks when they return to school this fall in the Commonwealth.