‘Don’t let your guard down!’: Chicagoans on COVID-19 precautions as Delta variant grows

We asked: With the Delta variant of the coronavirus spreading in Illinois and elsewhere, do you plan to step up precautions again? Here’s what people said.

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Mask in public? Some say they still will because of fears over the Delta variant.

Mask in public? Some say they still will because of fears over the Delta variant.

Tyler LaRiviere / Sun-Times

Just as we all started feeling like the end of the pandemic was near, COVID-19’s highly contagious Delta variant has tempered the optimism of public health officials and “is likely to be our dominant strain here in the next couple of months,” according to Dr. Allison Arwady, Chicago’s public health commissioner.

And Gov. J.B. Pritzker is pleading for remaining unvaccinated Illinoisans to get immunized because Delta surges in other countries “are a harbinger of what could happen here.”

So we asked readers: Are you stepping up precautions again? Some answers have been condensed and lightly edited for clarity.

“Yes, don’t let your guard down!” — Freddie Harris

“Nope. Had the shot, am a healthcare worker, have worked through this whole thing, work with infectious diseases for 40 years. I have all the latest info and not from papers or TV. Will go back to my normal living.” — Michele Carroll

“Yes. Although I am vaccinated, I am still wearing my mask and social distancing in public indoor spaces and in densely crowded outdoor spaces — not only to protect myself/my family from an infection from a COVID-19 variant but equally to prevent the spread to those cannot be safely vaccinated — children under 12, the immune-compromised, those allergic to vaccines — as well as those who have a valid aversion and hesitancy toward the vaccines because of historical and contemporary abuse of their communities by, and their subsequent mistrust of, scientists/medical professionals/physicians.” — Kim Tapio

“Nope! Had the shot and trust my immune system.” — Tasi Gwin

“I’m still masking up, taking precautions and staying in to reduce transmission. I’m immunocompromised and would end up in the hospital from regular colds and cases of flu. I had already been wearing masks way before the pandemic. I also have an immunocompromised child that has additional risk factors so I NEED to keep him safe. So many lives could be saved if we kept our germs to ourselves. But most people would rather see others DIE than slightly inconvenience themselves. It is truly saddening to me.” — Melissa Cintron

“I pretty much never let my guard down completely. I will follow the advice of the doctors and science.” — Cathy Miller Williams

“All living in my household are fully vaccinated, but I will remain cautious and careful until it is declared totally safe.” — Sue Shannon Whelan

“I’m back to masking in public. I only stopped for a week or so before the WHO said to start again because of the variant.” — Joanna Milano

“Yes, I plan to stay masked, avoid crowds and exposure to others in public places because I am currently undergoing treatment for metastasized uterine cancer. Chemo is making me more susceptible to infection and illness.” — Christine Bock

“I remain with zero antibodies after being fully vaccinated (participating in Johns Hopkins study on the effectiveness of the vaccine for those with solid organ transplants) due to my immune suppression/rejection meds. It’s a poor assumption to assume that all who are vaccinated are fully protected. I have not changed my lifestyle since the beginning of the pandemic, and it hasn’t been easy. Mask at all times, social distancing and only do what is essential especially if it involves being indoors.” — Monica Lutzke Winkelman

“No. If I die, I die. But I’m going to live while I can.” — Al Larcher

“I’m fully vaccinated, but I continue to mask up inside unless I know the people around me are also vaccinated. I’d rather have an abundance of caution than even a slight chance of illness.” — Paul Lockwood

“I am DONE with the masks! PERIOD!” — Kathy Zack-Schatz

“I never stopped taking precautions because I live in a county that doesn’t believe in facts or science.” — Maggie Parent-Moyer

“I think I will refocus on things like mask wearing, social distancing and other things that I may have relaxed my personal concerns about as life in the city started opening back up.” — Chris Vaughn

“No. Just going to live my life as if nothing happened.” — Wayne Szczesniewski

“I’m torn. I’m so enjoying not wearing my mask, but I think when I’m in larger venues with larger crowds, I’ll be wearing it again — airport, concert, outdoor markets. The variant feels scary even though I’m fully vaxxed.” — Nina Kavin

“I have completed both vaccines. I will remain cautious because I have to think about the little people that aren’t able to take the vaccine and the others that didn’t take it for whatever reason. I’m asking God to watch over us all during this troubling time.” — Dolores MzDee Wilson

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