Delta variant poses new threat to the U.S.

Published: Jun. 23, 2021 at 6:15 PM CDT
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MINOT, N.D. – At least 65% of adults in the U.S. have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to the CDC. But now, a new variant of the virus is starting to make its way across the country.

The CDC estimates that roughly 10% of U.S. coronavirus infections are the Delta variant, based on data leading up to June 5.

“In areas where it has spread, it’s become the dominant variant because it is more easily transmissible and it affects people of younger age groups and leads to more hospitalizations,” said infectious disease doctor with Trinity Health, Dr. Casmiar Nwaigwe.

Originating in India, the variant has spread to much of Europe and is quickly being reported in the United States. It’s similar to the original strain, but is making more of an impact in those who are infected.

“It also causes more severe disease, so people might be sicker longer, more people might end up with more severe disease, end up being hospitalized or even dying,” said Kylie Hall, NDSU Public Health coordinator.

It could easily be spreading in North Dakota.

“The state, it takes them a while to get the results of the whole genome sequence which is how you know if it’s the variant or not. I wouldn’t be surprised if its already circulating in North Dakota, we just haven’t picked it up,” said Nwaigwe.

Health officials are reporting that the current vaccines available are the best asset.

“The vaccines that we have are still effective at preventing people getting this variant, and even if they get it, it’s still effective at preventing hospitalizations up to 62% to 79% depending on which vaccine you take,” said Nwaigwe.

Knowing that more variants are likely mutate, but hoping that more vaccination and herd immunity will stop the spread.

This comes as the U.S. is predicted to fall short of President Joe Biden’s goal of hitting 70% of Americans receiving one COVID-19 dose by July 4.

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CDC: Delta variant expected to be dominant in US

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