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Louisville doctor worried about impact of Delta variant

COVID-19 Vaccine
COVID-19 Vaccine(WBKO)
Published: Jul. 26, 2021 at 6:57 PM CDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - With the Delta variant pushing COVID numbers back up, doctors are once again urging people to get vaccinated.

Sixty percent of the adult U.S. population has been fully vaccinated, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Millions have still not received the vaccine, leaving the nation vulnerable to the fast-spreading Delta variant of the virus.

Medical experts say you should think about the Delta variant as the 2020 version of COVID-19 on steroids, that’s how serious it is. This variant is in all 50 states.

The first case in the United States was identified in March, and by early July, it made up more than half of cases tested in the country. It now makes up 83% of US cases, according to the CDC.

The Delta variant is spreading about 55% faster than the alpha strain that was first identified in the United Kingdom late last year, according to the World Health Organization – and that strain spreads about 50% faster than the version that first began infecting people in late 2019.

Dr. Mark Burns from UofL Health says they are seeing more people being admitted to the hospital with COVID, they are sicker, and younger and over 90% of them are unvaccinated.

“For the people that are unvaccinated unfortunately things haven’t changed for them since day one,” Dr. Burns said. “This virus is extremely more contagious and more deadly. If you think about what we had before this which was the B117 which is out of UK which is now known as the Alpha virus. That was much more contagious and easily spread than the original wild type virus that was here. You can see a pattern.”

That pattern isn’t good since vaccinations have slowed down. What’s extremely concerning according to Burns is that if this virus continues to mutate, there is a possibility they can mutate their way around the protection of the vaccine. Burns says that will be very bad for all of us. Burns says if enough people get vaccinated, this virus won’t have a place to replicate.

Louisville Metro Public Health and Wellness says antibody response lasts about 8 months. Covid vaccine antibody response lasts at least 1 year, likely two plus.

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