Coronavirus

4:13 PM, Feb 27, 2020

Actions

How much of a concern is the Delta variant?

Federal doctors say the strain is more contagious than previous variants
Posted at 7:17 AM, Jul 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-01 07:17:44-04

(WSYM) — The Biden administration likely will not hit a desired 70% of adults having at least one vaccine shot by the Fourth of July. With the Independence Day holiday fast approaching, it appears that number will likely be around 68%—18 states have individually hit that 70% milestone, but Michigan was not among them.

With the emergence of the new Delta variant—said to be more contagious and dangerous than strains before it—White House officials are trying to spread information on vaccines faster than the spread of the virus.

RELATED: Number of delta variant COVID-19 cases expected to double every two weeks

“The vaccines are safe, the vaccines are effective and they’re so important given the Delta variant,” said Dr. Rachel Levine, assistant secretary of health at the Dept. of Health and Human Services. “We are watching this variant very closely and it has been increasing in the United States.”

So far the Delta variant has popped up in 77 countries worldwide and in the U.S.; the CDC says the variant now accounts for one in four American cases.

“The people who are vulnerable to the Delta variant are those who have not yet been vaccinated,” said Dr. Levine. “Any illness really now for individuals 12 and above are preventable.”

The Pfizer and Moderna shots have been proven to protect against the new Delta variant, and studies to determine if the Johnson & Johnson vaccine does as well are ongoing. Dr. Levine says it’s the younger age-group, in the 18–24 range, that are most holding up the progress of vaccination numbers.

“They seem to be somewhat complacent that they will not suffer the negative effects of this virus and that is incorrect,” she said. “That is just wrong.”

As of numbers provided to FOX 17 by the state health department, there are currently 13 cases in West Michigan counties: nine in Branch county, two in Berrien County and one case each in Kalamazoo and Ottawa Counties.

As to the prospect of booster shots, Dr. Levine says that’s something they’re still working with federal agencies and the drug companies on to determine, and they should have a clearer picture by the end of the summer.