The COVID-19 Delta variant is extremely contagious and responsible for about 1 in 5 COVID-19 cases in the United States, and cases have doubled in the last two weeks, according to health officials. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) are very concerned about the Delta variant. It spread rapidly through India and Britain.
“The Delta variant is currently the greatest threat in the United States. Delta was first identified in the United States in March. Alpha remains the prevalent variant, while Delta has been spreading very quickly. In early April, Delta represented just 0.1% of cases in the United States, according to the CDC. By early May, Delta accounted for 1.3% of cases, and by early June, that figure jumped to 9.5%. Last week the number of cases reached 20.6%, Dr. Fauci said at a briefing.
Should People be Worried about the Delta Variant?
Delta is believed to be the most transmissible variant yet. It may also cause more severe illness. A Scottish study found that people infected by the Delta variant were roughly twice as likely to be hospitalized than those infected with Alpha.
Some evidence suggests that the variant may evade the antibodies made by the body after being infected with COVID-19 or being vaccinated. And the variant may render certain monoclonal antibody treatments less effective, the CDC stated.
Delta Variant May Cause Outbreaks in the Low Vaccinated States
Vaccination rates have been highly uneven and are lower in certain states and demographic groups. Delta could fuel outbreaks in the South, where vaccinations lag. According to the CDC, 46.1% of the total US population has been vaccinated against Covid-19. Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Wyoming have the lowest vaccination rates, with less than 35% of their population fully vaccinated.
Only 33.9% of residents are fully vaccinated in Arkansas. They are also seeing high numbers of COVID-19 patients being hospitalized.
Do Vaccinated People Need to Worry?
The Delta variant is unlikely to pose much risk to people who have been fully vaccinated, experts said. According to a recent study, the Pfizer vaccine was 88% effective at protecting against symptomatic disease caused by Delta, compared with its 93% effectiveness against the Alpha variant. But a single dose of the vaccine was just 33% effective against Delta, the study found.
What Should You Do?
Get vaccinated. If you’re already vaccinated, encourage your family, friends, and neighbors to get vaccinated. Vaccination is likely to slow the spread of all the variants and reduce the odds that new, even more, dangerous variants may emerge.
Florida has many sites that are providing COVID-19 vaccines, but supplies are limited and appointments may not be available at many of these sites. Vaccines are free to eligible residents. Click here to check eligibility.
Please be aware that some locations are only serving very specific populations, such as frontline health care workers. Appointments may be required and vaccine availability will vary from day to day and week to week as we work to provide vaccines to the most vulnerable first.