Dear friends,

This morning the clergy of the diocese gathered on Zoom to hear from the bishop and from Dr. Jodie Guest, Emory professor of epidemiology, for an update on the pandemic. Dr. Guest, who has been studying the virus from the beginning, says that the delta variant has totally changed Covid 19. Someone infected with the delta variant carries 1,000 times more virus than previous variants. Delta is also 60 percent more transmittable. Both asymptomatic and fully vaccinated people can still carry the virus and easily and unknowingly infect others. 

Dr. Guest also said breakthrough infections among those who are fully vaccinated are becoming more common. The good news is that the vaccine prevents the most serious illness and death, but you can still feel pretty sick from a breakthrough infection. Delta makes people sicker quicker. Hospitals are filling up with younger, sicker Covid patients. So if your children or grandchildren 12 and older have not been vaccinated, please encourage them to do so.

The virus is not going away anytime soon. The last two weeks have seen exponential growth across the state. Yesterday there were 4,326 new cases reported in Georgia, which is the 10th highest daily number since the first cases were reported here in March 2020, and the highest since January. Epidemiologists look at the percentage of Covid tests that are positive to judge how widely it is spreading. Areas with more than a 5 percent rate are considered high risk. The average across Georgia is 12.8 percent; in some counties it is as high as 44 percent. Fulton County’s rate is 10.8 percent. DeKalb is 9.6 percent and Cobb is 10.9 percent.

What this means is that the mask requirements and other protocols we reinstated last Sunday are definitely the right thing to do. Being in church Sunday felt like a huge step backwards, but it is the necessary step to keep us all safe. Get vaccinated and wear your masks!

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