ATLANTA, Ga. (WJBF) – The CDC says the Delta variant of COVID-19 makes up for more than 80% of new cases in the U.S. which is why health experts are urging people to get vaccinated.
Emory doctors say the sharp rise in COVID-19 cases and deaths across the country is because of the Delta variant, which is soaring in areas with low immunizations like the south.
Dr. Carlos Del Rio at Emory University said, “One thing to remember is the pandemic is not over. The Delta variant is incredibly infectious and highly transmissible.”
In the past two weeks, cases have gone up 140% to 30,000 cases a day, while COVID-19 deaths have tripled.
“An increase in hospitals by about 30% and what we’re seeing is an increasing hospitalizations for younger people. We did a great job vaccinating those over 65 but it’s the young people who thought this is no big deal, who are now getting sick, into the hospital and the ICU and dying,” Del Rio said.
State health leaders says Georgia has 90 confirmed Delta variant cases but say that number is likely higher.
Dr. Del Rio said, “The rise in cases is strongly coordinated with low vaccination rates. If you are vaccinated, you should not worry about the Delta variant but if you are not, you are really in trouble and will likely get to infected.”
Georgia’s Health Department says only 4 out of 10 Georgians are fully vaccinated and that means 6 out of 10 Georgians are at greater risk for contracting the Delta variant.
Dr. Cecil Bennett, Medical Director at Newnan Family Medicine said, “The Delta variant is the dominant and is far more contagious than the typical COVID strain.”
“We are seeing a rise because unvaccinated individuals are not wearing a mask,” said Dr. Del Rio. “One infected person is capable of 3 people with the original strain, so one would be three, and three would be nine, and that was the exponential growth. With the Alpha variant it went to 5, and with Delta variant it goes up to 9.”
Doctors say even if you are fully vaccinated, wear a mask if you are indoors, because there may be unvaccinated people walking around without a mask who could be carriers.
This past week, doctors say the global death toll passed 4-million from COVID-19 complications.