JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The new coronavirus delta variant is highly contagious.
So much so that health experts say one in every five new cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. is due to the delta variant.
”This is the most transmissible of all the variants that we’ve seen and we saw what happened in the UK where it overtook the entire nation, so I’m worried that’s going to happen in the U.S.,” said Dr. Peter Hotez, Dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at the Baylor College of Medicine.
Health officials are concerned the variant could cause a resurgence of COVID-19 across the country just when things were starting to return to normal.
New research suggests the delta variant, which originated in India, is on course to become the most dominant strain of the COVID-19 virus in the U.S. On Wednesday, 12 delta variant cases were reported in Orange County, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
The South Florida Sun Sentinal reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s COVID-19 tracker shows that Florida has at least 72 cases of the variant as of June 15.
Public health experts say it’s more severe and more transmissible.
Public health experts say the delta variant is 60% more transmissible than the original strain of the virus.
”The delta variant is currently the greatest threat in the U.S. to our attempt to eliminate COVID-19,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
New research found the delta variant is growing faster in counties with lower vaccination rates.
UF Health of Jacksonville Epidemiologist Chad Neilsen told News4Jax research shows the vaccines in the U.S. can fight off the delta variant
“The number one thing I think viewers need to know is if you fear the delta variant, you need to get vaccinated because our vaccines that we have here in the U.S. market are effective against it,” Neilsen said.
The number of vaccine doses administered in Florida has been declining in recent weeks.
The Biden administration announced Tuesday it expects to fall short of its goal to vaccinate 70% of Americans by July 4.
Nielsen said as far as hospitalizations, the majority of patients are unvaccinated Jacksonville residents.