Delta Variant looms for the unvaccinated

Even though the number of COVID-19 in Wisconsin reached pandemic lows in early summer, new cases are on the rise again, as outbreaks fueled by variants elsewhere offer a warning sign to near the half of state residents who are not vaccinated.

the Delta variant is of particular concern. Also labeled B.1.617.2, this more contagious strain of coronavirus is responsible for spikes in cases around the world, including the United States, where he had become the dominant strain in circulation by July 2021.

In scenes reminiscent of 2020, hospitals in southwestern Missouri, where the Delta variant is conduct almost all new infections are in trouble with an influx of COVID-19 patients. The vaccination rate in Missouri is among the lowest nationwide – 45.5% of state residents had received at least one dose by July 9 according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In Wisconsin, just over half of its residents have received at least one dose of the vaccine as of July 9. Local vaccination rates continue to vary widely, ranging from a high of 69.2% in Dane County to 27.4% in Taylor County.

After dropping for months, new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Wisconsin are on the rise. The 7-day state average for new daily cases was 91 on July 8, an increase of almost a third from the pandemic low of 69 set on June 21.

While variant monitoring remains limited in Wisconsin – the state reported just 58 additional virus samples analyzed in the first week of July – accounting for about 10% of the week’s new cases. A small but growing number of new cases in the state have been confirmed as being the Delta variant. Since July 8, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services reported 83 Delta-related cases, up slightly from 71 the week before, although the Alpha variant (also labeled B.1.1.7) continued to be the dominant strain in the state.

Elizabeth Goodsitt, spokesperson for the state health department, said in a July 9 email that the state labs, run by the Wisconsin State Hygiene Laboratory, continue to work on increasing the number of virus samples sequenced. Goodsitt noted that the genomes of around 20-30% of positive samples cannot be sequenced because they do not contain enough genetic material.

The rapid spread of the Delta variant to other states and the specter of future variants are prompting a new push to get vaccines into guns.

“Please get vaccinated. Get it now and make sure your friends and family members get vaccinated as well,” Julie Willems Van Dijk, deputy secretary of the state’s health department, said at the meeting. ‘a press conference. July 9 press briefing.

Willems Van Dijk said the evidence indicates that people who previously had COVID-19 become ill after contracting the Delta variant, demonstrating the need for vaccination even among those who had previously tested positive.

On the same day, the state health department unveiled Plans view immunization rates around Wisconsin at the census tract and zip code level, as well as by municipality and school district. The maps show large swathes of rural Wisconsin and parts of several cities – including Milwaukee, Racine and Beloit – where vaccination rates remain below 40%.

Willems Van Dijk underlined the permanent risk serious illness and death in unvaccinated people, especially those living in communities with low vaccination rates.

“Every COVID-19-related death is now a preventable death. Every COVID-19-related hospitalization is now preventable,” she said. “We prevent these hospitalizations and deaths by getting vaccinated.”

The manufacturers of one of the three vaccines available in the United States, Pfizer and BioNTech, ad On July 8, their development of a vaccine specifically targeting the Delta variant. Still, studies around the world prove that the Pfizer vaccine, along with other products by Moderna and Johnson & Johnson, remain very effective in preventing serious illness, even though they are to some extent less effective in preventing it. infection with variants like Delta.

“The very good news is that if you have received your vaccine you are not going to be sick with the Delta virus,” said David O’Connor, professor of pathology and laboratory medicine at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, in the July 7 edition of Here and now, it’s Wednesday noon.

In addition, studies in Israel, the UK and elsewhere to prove that vaccination offers significant protection against infection with COVID-19 in the first place, as long as the two-dose regimens of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are completed.

“Most of the people who get sick with the Delta variant, and even with covid in general, in the United States are people who aren’t vaccinated,” said Thomas friedrich, professor of pathobiological sciences at UW-Madison, also on the July 7 episode of Wednesday at noon.

Friedrich pointed out, however, that studies to suggest that a dose of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine does not provide adequate protection against the Delta variant.

O’Connor added that places with high vaccination rates, such as Dane County where two-thirds of residents have completed their rounds of vaccines, have likely achieved a level of immunity than a return to policies such that masking requirements and limits for public gatherings are not necessary. , At least for the moment.

“We just have to be very vigilant,” said O’Connor, comparing the current situation to being on a Florida beach the days before a hurricane hit.

“Right now the sun is out, the waves are great. Enjoy your time on the sand,” he said. But “there could be a storm well offshore that we will have to worry about in the future.”

About Hector Hedgepeth

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