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Celebrating July 4th amid concerns of delta variant

With cases trickling back up and new variants emerging, should you alter any Fourth of July plans?

CLEVELAND — The Fourth of July holiday was President Joe Biden's target to have 70% of American adults have at least one shot of a COVID-19 vaccine for the country’s first big holiday back from isolation.

"Just a chance to be outside to see people you haven't seen in a long time and to give hugs," Dr. David Margolius, an infectious disease specialist at MetroHealth, says.

However, as the nation looks to be falling short of that goal, cases are also starting to creep back up. COVID-19 cases are up 10% nationally since last week, and the Ohio Department of Health reports the state's new cases Thursday are more than double the 21-day average.

Pairing that with the new variants emerging, should it make you rethink any of your holiday weekend plans?

"Mostly outside makes everything safer, and hopefully the weather will allow that," Margolius explained, "but I think folks that are vaccinated should feel really comfortable that they're going to be safe."

RELATED: Sorting out mask confusion as health leaders look to get COVID-19 Delta variant under control

However, Margolious adds people who aren't vaccinated or parents who have children who are high-risk due to medical conditions should be extra cautious with the delta variant that's 60% more contagious than the dominant strain in the US.

"COVID was already very contagious," he said. "If one person in the household gets it, chances are everybody in their household gets it. The biggest thing with the delta variant is the vaccines work."

Margolious says the risk right now really comes down to vaccination.

"Every day I wake up and look at the list of folks who are in the hospital with COVID, and the first thing I do is look at their vaccination status, and pretty much it's completely folks who haven't been vaccinated," he told 3News.

He says as long as you've got your shot, you should have no concerns about celebrating America's freedom, and your own.

"I think for vaccinated folks, this July 4th weekend is going to be a great weekend," he declared. "You should be partying like it’s 2019."

RELATED: Northeast Ohio Fourth of July fireworks guide: list of cities holding displays

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