(WSYR-TV) — The numbers are encouraging as coronavirus cases are down 42 percent in the U.S. in the last couple of weeks. However, there are some places where the virus continues to spread, and that’s because of another number- the vaccination rate.
COVID is spreading in low vaccine areas, like in Smith County Tennessee, where 20 percent of the population are fully vaccinated. There has been a 700 percent increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations in this county.
In Maryland, just eight percent of people in their 50’s who got covid over the winter ended up in the hospital. That number has more than doubled to 19 percent.
The increase is not a coincidence. Doctors say 3 out of every 4 COVID cases in the U.S. are from a deadlier and more contagious variant that started in Britain. It’s known as ALPHA and vaccines have proven to be effective against the Alpha variant. That’s why the predicted spring surge didn’t happen.
Now, there’s another variant which started in India. Doctors call it Delta and it’s spreading in Britain.
“We cannot let that happen in the United States,” Doctor Anthony Fauci said.
Dr. Fauci urges young people to get vaccinated, citing a study that found that two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine appear to be effective against the Delta variant.
Doctors say one way of limiting the spread is for those who are vaccinated to wear masks around those who have not had the shots.
At least one state is making that a rule. When California reopens next week, fully vaccinated colleagues working in a room together will be allowed to work mask-less. However, if one person is unvaccinated, everyone in the room will need to wear a mask.