The Centers for Disease Control last week warned the highly contagious COVID-19 delta variant is likely to become the dominant strain in United States.
Research released last week indicated the delta variant made hospitalization more than twice as likely than for patients with the original alpha variant.
“It’s more transmissible than the Alpha variant or U.K. variant that we have here. We saw that quickly become the dominant strain in a period of one or two months,” Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Friday on “Good Morning America.”
She said the delta variant currently makes up about 10% of all U.S. cases.
The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have shown to be effective against the delta variant so far. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine’s effectiveness against the delta variant is under study. Health officials are concerned that if it continues to spread in the unvaccinated population, the delta variant could continue to mutate.
According to the CDC, the best way to slow the impact of new variants is to reduce the spread of infection by getting vaccinated, frequently washing your hands and by wearing a mask and avoiding crowded places until you have been fully vaccinated. (A person is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after the second dose of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.)
For the week of June 11-17, there were 43 new COVID-19 deaths in Florida. The FDOH summary does not list where the deaths were. Since the pandemic began 37,555 Floridians have died related to the virus. FDOH no longer provides information about hospitalizations related to COVID-19.
Statewide, 56% of the population over age 12 has been vaccinated. Statewide, new case positivity for June 11-17 was 3.3%.
While vaccines are free and available through most pharmacies, vaccination rates in some areas remain well below the national and state averages.
In South Central Florida, for the week of June 11-17:
• Collier County: 62% of those over age 12 are vaccinated; 3.6% new case positivity;
• Glades County: 41% of those over age 12 vaccinated; 9.5% new positivity rate;
• Hendry County: 41% of those over age 12 vaccinated; 5.2% new positivity rate;
• Highlands County: 51% of those over age 12 vaccinated; 3.0% new positivity rate;
• Martin County: 58% of persons over age 12 vaccinated; 3.1% new positivity rate;
• Okeechobee County: 36% of persons over age 12 vaccinated; 9.1% new positivity rate;
• Palm Beach County: 60% of persons over age 12 vaccinated; 3.1% new case positivity rate.
Florida has more than 1,000 vaccine distribution sites for eligible residents. Vaccines are free at all locations. To find COVID-19 testing or vaccination sites, go online to floridahealthcovid19.gov.
According to a June 11 NBC news report, doctors across the country report virtually all COVID-19 patients in ICUs have one thing in common -- they are unvaccinated.
Learn the myths and facts about the COVID-19 vaccines here.