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Under-Vaccinated Areas Could Be at Greater Risk of Delta Surge

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The Delta variant of the coronavirus is making its rounds around the world, and according to virologists, it’s only a matter of time before it makes its way in force to the shores of the United States. The good news is that, while the Delta variant is more transmissible and causes a more severe reaction, it is just as effectively subdued by the COVID-19 vaccines. The bad news is that, while many US states have been fighting the good fight and vaccinating, some lagging states could be more vulnerable to the Delta variant.

While coastal states like California, Connecticut, and Vermont have managed to vaccinate the vast majority of their residents, central and southern states like Alabama, Wyoming, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee have fallen behind in the effort, all having vaccinated less than 35% of their eligible residents. These states are already seeing rising rates of COVID-19 tests testing positive for the Delta variant.

“We certainly have to acknowledge that we have come a long way, and we’re out of the worst of it. We’re not going to see the massive surges that we saw over the holidays,” said CNN Medical Analyst Dr. Leana Wen.

“The problem, though, is that we should really be looking at the numbers for each community instead of looking at the US as a whole because while the US as a whole is doing so much better, and there are pockets of the country that have very high vaccination rates, we also have pockets of the country that are actually undergoing massive surges right now where their hospitals are getting full again,” Wen said.

“Now we need to think about trying to push out the vaccine into community sites where people could get it delivered to them through a trusted intermediary, that’s going to mean doctors’ offices, schools, places of employment,” former FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb told CBS. “We need to think about a different vaccine delivery strategy to get the people who are still reluctant or who still face challenges getting into those access sites.”


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