Health officials urge Americans to get vaccinated to prevent spread of Delta variant

Updated: Jun. 13, 2021 at 8:14 PM CDT
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TEXAS (KLTV) - As COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, the potential for the Delta variant to spread increases. The Delta variant is a strain of the COVID-19 virus health experts say spreads quicker.

Sunday morning on CBS National’s Face the Nation, the former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, Dr. Scott Gottlieb warned that that the Delta variant could be more common in the United States soon.

“Right now in the United States, it’s about 10 percent of infections it’s doubling every two weeks,” said Dr. Gottlieb. “So it’s probably going to become the dominant strain here in the United States.

The Delta variant is one that has rapidly spread in both India and the United Kingdom. This has lead to high infection rates in both countries, which has health officials in East Texas worried if it were to become more widespread in both the country and state.

“Highly infectious more so than the original version of COVID that we saw through much of 2020, so it raises a lot of concern about the possibility of continued spread in the United States,” said Dr. Tom Cummins who is the UT Health East Texas Division Chief Medical Officer.

That spread is amplified among unvaccinated people. According to data from the Smith County Health Authority, at the beginning of June fewer than 35 percent of eligible East Texans had been vaccinated for COVID-19.

“If it gets to a large community of unvaccinated, never previously ill people which has happened in India then it is going to spread very quickly,” said Dr. Cummins.

The best way to stop the spread according to officials is to get vaccinated. Current evidence shows that the vaccine is effective against the Delta variant.

“If 80 percent of the people have been vaccinated then 80 percent of the people can’t get either that variant or the original, what we call the wild type, the more vaccines the less variants and the less spread,” said Dr. Cummins.

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