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CLEVELAND (WJW) – Another potentially concerning COVID-19 variant has surfaced called Delta Plus.

It’s unclear if this variant could gain as much strength as Delta, according to local experts, who said the mutation of the Delta variant is the result of stalled vaccination rates and widespread COVID-19 infections.

“One of the problems with so much virus around, so many people being infected, so many people shedding virus, is the more virus that’s created, the more opportunities there are for mutations and one of those mutations is going to be the next bad variant,” said Cleveland Clinic Section Head of Microbiology Dr. Daniel Rhoads.

He said Delta Plus is not dominant in the U.S. The Delta variant still holds that title.

At the Cleveland Clinic, 80% of positive COVID cases are the Delta variant, according to Rhoads.

“I’m concerned, I’m not convinced we should be more concerned than we were a year ago,” said Rhoads. “I mean, this is really SARS-CoV-2. Delta’s the problem. I think of it as COVID 2.0, so it spreads more easily than the virus that was circulating a year ago and it evades immunity a little bit better than the previous variants.”

The best way to prevent new variants is to prevent COVID-19 from spreading in the first place. This week, county health departments in Cuyahoga and Summit counties recommended everyone wear a mask indoors to help reduce infection spread for both the vaccinated and unvaccinated.

“That’s why you see this race to get people vaccinated,” said Summit County Public Health Commissioner Donna Skoda. “It’s because we’re trying to get ahead of this before this virus does mutate and the mutation is no longer covered by those vaccines, then you’re going to be right back to square one.”

Skoda said despite 50% of the county being vaccinated, Summit County recently joined most of Ohio as being an area the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identified as having substantial COVID-19 transmission.

Now the race continues on a global scale to stop the spread of the virus before new mutations can gain strength.

“If the past predicts the future, then there will be more variants to come,” said Rhoads.

FOX 8 reached out to the Ohio Department of Health to learn if the Delta Plus variant was found in Ohio but did not get a response at the time of this publication.