The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say the Delta coronavirus variant that first surfaced in India is spreading in the United States — including in Georgia. Roughly 6% of cases nationwide are attributed to this new COVID-19 variant. This is according to a story from GPB.
Health experts worry about the Delta variant because it appears more transmissible, which means it could lead to more deaths among the unvaccinated, and Georgia has more unvaccinated people than almost anywhere in the country.
Amber Schmidtke, a microbiologist who has been tracking COVID-19 stats in Georgia, said that when the Delta variant arrived in the United Kingdom, areas with high vaccination rates did not see a jump in the number of coronavirus cases.
“However, areas that had low vaccination rates saw case surges when that Delta variant came,” she said. “And they’re seeing hospitalizations as a result.”
Parts of rural Georgia, where vaccinations are lagging, are at the greatest risk, Schmidtke said.
“We’re probably not going to reach herd immunity any time soon in Georgia on a statewide level, but we especially will struggle to get that on a community-to-community basis,” she said. “Areas in the Atlanta metro may get closer to 70% (vaccinated) than other areas of the state, and what’s really unfortunate about that is that rural counties have had a higher death rate than the Atlanta metro. So far, it’s about twice as high. And so the population we need to vaccinate most is most resistant to it.”
Immunity can be reached by people who recovered from COVID-19 as well as those who are vaccinated, but without herd immunity, the potential for spikes remains as do surges of hospitalizations and deaths, she said.
“We’ve seen this even before the pandemic for things like measles,” Schmidtke said.
About This Report:
A special thanks to Dr. Frank Davis, M.D. F.A.C.S, a retired trauma surgeon who lives in Bulloch County. He has worked closely with the Grice Connect team to design the COVID-19 dashboard and provide brief interpretation of the data. You will be seeing and hearing more from Dr. Davis as an important member of the GC team. We will continue to update and adapt the data in this report to make it relevant. We have shifted our emphasis to vaccinations, while continuing to provide daily Coroncavirus impact.
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