If you’ve spent more than five minutes watching the news in the past couple of weeks, you’ve likely heard all about the coronavirus’s latest iteration: the deadly and highly contagious delta variant. First discovered in India, the highly transmissible mutation of COVID-19 is present in all 50 states. In fact, the variant – at least as of this writing – accounts for 51.7 percent of all new infections in the U.S.
CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said, “Although we expected the delta variant to become the dominant strain in the United States, this rapid rise is troubling.” In some places – including Missouri, Arkansas, Nebraska, Kansas and Iowa, the delta variant may account for around 80 percent of cases.
In Springfield, Missouri, they thought the worst was over – but now the hospitals there are seeing more than 130 COVID-19 patients every day. That’s more than they had during the height of the nationwide pandemic. Local Fire Chief David Pennington tweeted, “This is a mass casualty event, happening in slow motion. EMS resources are depleted, and the hospital systems are overwhelmed. Our community is in crisis.” It’s not just in the middle of the country, either; there are massive spikes in Florida, Louisiana, Nevada, Wyoming and Utah, too.
Though just under 50 percent of Americans are fully vaccinated, there are those who have already decided that they’ll never get the shot – and still others who can’t, such as children under the age of 12 and those with compromised immune systems or who are allergic to some of the formulations’ ingredients. That totals too few Americans to generate herd immunity to the virus, which requires somewhere between 70 percent and 90 percent of the population to become immune and kill it off once and for all.
But is it really something to worry about? Medical experts say it is – but you have less to worry about if you’re vaccinated. Data from overseas (primarily Britain) suggest that the spread of the delta variant will continue to create large outbreaks and significant numbers of deaths in areas where vaccine rates are lower than average; that’s mainly due to how easily it spreads.
What Do You Think?
Are you concerned about the delta variant here in Wisconsin, or are you less worried than you were before? COVID-19 has been a hot topic for more than a year now, so I’d love to hear your thoughts. Please share them on my Facebook page or on Twitter to join the conversation!