Local medical experts concerned as Delta variant of COVID-19 continues to spread

Coronavirus

CLEVELAND (WJW) — COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths have dropped significantly in the past few months. But new variants of the virus are worrying to medical experts like University Hospitals and Rainbow Babies & Children Director of Infectious Disease Dr. Claudia Hoyen. 

“With COVID, that’s kind of how it is. We’re living minute by minute, day by day…Every day we see new variants popping up from you know, around the country, around the world,” said Hoyen.

One in particular, the Delta variant, which was first detected in India, is now being called a “variant of concern” by the Centers for Disease Control. 

“It’s because it’s spreading quickly throughout the United States,” said Hoyen.

Already the dominant variant in the United Kingdom, experts predict it to become dominant in the U.S. by August and it seems to be spiking among young and unvaccinated people.

“Last year, lots of young people got sick. Many, many, and often times they didn’t even know they were sick. But now as they’re starting to get this Delta strain they don’t seem to have that luxury of not getting sick like last year,” she explained.

As things start to feel normal again, Hoyen encourages people to get the vaccine. 

“Fortunately we’re really lucky because the vaccine still seems to work against this,” said Hoyen.

According to the CDC, as of Sunday 45-percent of the total U.S. population has been vaccinated.

“The president has set a goal of 70-percent, I think that’s a good goal. We’re certainly not going to be at that point by July 4th,” said Governor Mike DeWine on Friday.

In Ohio, the Department of Health reports 43-percent of the population has full protection. “We certainly have pockets around the state where the vaccination rate is exceedingly low. That is of grave concern,” said DeWine.

He said vaccination numbers during the first two weeks of the Vax-A-Million campaign were “phenomenal” — but that has dropped.He says his team is looking at other incentives to get more shots in arms. 

“We are not done. You will see some more initiatives from us. We will be announcing some things next week and the week after and the week after. So we’re still very focused on this,” said DeWine.

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