By Ted Scouten

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Florida International University infectious disease expert Dr. Aileen Marty is sounding the alarm. She says we are at high risk in South Florida as the Delta variant takes a stronger hold.

“There is no higher risk area in the United States than we’re seeing here,” said Dr. Marty. “The numbers that we’re seeing are unbelievable, just unbelievably frightening.”

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This comes as the CDC is pushing to get everyone to put their masks back on while inside, whether your vaccinated or not.

Meanwhile, Governor Ron DeSantis is opposed to mandates.

So what should you do? “I’ve been wearing a mask this whole time, because I don’t want it, I’m vaccinated but I still wear it,” said Brenda Seleznow as she was walking on Las Olas.

Dr. Marty says that’s exactly what you should do every time you walk into a building, whether or not it’s mandated and even if you’re vaccinated.

How about dining out? “We’re at that point again. And I wish we weren’t but the safest thing to do is dine outdoors,” Dr. Marty advises.

And even if you’re outside but in a crowd, Dr. Marty urges you to mask up. “If you’re in a big crowd and you can’t distance yourself even if you’re outdoors, even if you’re vaccinated, the smart thing to do is to wear a mask.”

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“Being vaccinated, I don’t feel the need to wear one,” said Kyle Lengauer. “It’s just personal preference. You got the vaccination for a reason,” he said.

While the experts say vaccination is the best first-line of defense, vaccinated people can get sick too and spread Covid.

“Choose to be smart. Choose to avoid the virus, choose to avoid transmitting it to other people that you love and care about, particularly our children less than 12 who can’t be vaccinated,” said Dr. Yvonne Johnson, Chief Medical Officer at Baptist South Miami Hospital.

She said her Covid ward has 4 times more patients in just the past 3 weeks.

She says vaccination and masks could help keep you out of the hospital.

“Eighty to eighty-five percent of those people who are hospitalized are unvaccinated. And 100% of the people in my ICU are unvaccinated. All those people are suffering unnecessarily,” Dr. Johnson said.

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Ted Scouten