With cities now open countrywide, the coronavirus pandemic is starting to feel in the rear-view mirror. But look out ahead: danger lurks, especially if you live in certain places in America. The new Delta variant is becoming the dominant form of COVID and it’s “more transmissible” than the former strain, warns Michael Osterholm, an epidemiologist, Regents Professor, and Director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota. He appeared on KSTP yesterday to sound the alarm. Read on for his “concerning” warning, as well as four tips that can save your life—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure Signs You Have “Long” COVID and May Not Even Know It.
The Delta variant is spreading in parts of the USA, especially where not enough people are vaccinated. “As we see happening in Europe right now, this could be a huge challenge because even those with single dose vaccines, whether it be one mRNA vaccine, the vaccine is only working about 30% of the time,” said Osterholm. “With this Delta variant, the key to holding Delta down home says is vaccinations. So we have over a hundred counties in this country right now that have fewer than 20% of the population vaccinated. We have many states that are down into even with one dose vaccinations under the 40%. And wherever those pockets of unvaccinated people exist, this virus will find you. And so that’s the challenge we have right now, but you’re trying to get people vaccinated so that we do take Delta off the table.”
“It’s unclear with the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, single-dose, how it’s working” against the variant, said Osterholm. “There is discussion being had right now that maybe we needed a second dose with that Johnson and Johnson vaccine, but there’s nothing official on that yet. And the data which we need to secure to really answer that question aren’t available yet. And we’re not going to answer that right away, but yes, that’s going to be a pointed question. If you follow anything going on in the media world of COVID right now, this has been a point of great discussion over the course of the past several days.”
“I expect that that work will be fully submitted to the FDA by September and within a short period of time. After that, I think we could see the recommendations and approval for kids two years of age and older with a follow up to the children’s six months or older not too long after that,” he said.
Where does Osterholm say we stand now? He says “we’re at a very confusing moment, but also a very hopeful time,” according to the KSTP interviewer. “Yes, we’re opening up more, but he says the pandemic is still hitting places around the world hard and the variants continue to challenge vaccine effectiveness, but he says with more vaccines happening every week, he does not believe he doesn’t think we’ll see another surge nationwide, which is really good.”
So follow Fauci’s fundamentals and help end this pandemic, no matter where you live—wear a face mask that fits snugly and is double layered, don’t travel, social distance, avoid large crowds, don’t go indoors with people you’re not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene, get vaccinated when it becomes available to you, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don’t visit any of these 35 Places You’re Most Likely to Catch COVID.