Return to office depends on whether workforce is vaccinated, Dr. Celine Gounder says

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Dr. Celine Gounder, an epidemiologist who advised the Biden administration, underscored the importance of having a vaccinated workforce as employers consider returning to the office.

“If you’re able to get your workforce vaccinated, I think it’s a completely different calculation than if you’re not,” Gounder said Monday evening in an interview on CNBC’s “The News with Shepard Smith.” “Vaccination is the way out of this pandemic.”

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued a vaccine mandate Monday for the 68,000 transit workers who run the city’s massive subway and bus system. Workers must be either vaccinated or get tested weekly starting on Labor Day. He also suggested that private businesses such as bars and restaurants require proof of vaccination against Covid-19 as a condition for admission. The announcement comes less than a week after the governor issued the same requirement for all state employees. 

Host Shepard Smith also asked Gounder about the rise in delta variant cases among children and whether or not it is impacting them differently than other variants. The NYU epidemiologist explained that the delta variant is different, and therefore impacting children more. 

“The levels of virus in people who are infected are 1,000 times higher in their nose and in their throat, than they would have been with the early strains of the virus,” Gounder said. “So if you imagine that there’s so much more virus in the body, even if a child maybe early in the pandemic wouldn’t have had a severe infection, now with that much more virus, we’re seeing kids getting sick.”

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