Coronavirus Outbreak

Conn. Experts Say to Be Cautious of the COVID-19 Delta Variant

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Many people are breathing a sigh of relief as COVID-19 cases drop in the state. But there is still a concern experts are watching cautiously: the spread of a COVID-19 variant called the Delta variant.

“The Delta variant is something for us to be very cautious about,” said Keith Grant, Hartford HealthCare senior system director of infection prevention.

Grant said he’s keeping a close eye on the COVID-19 Delta variant. It was first was detected in India and ravaged that country. Now, it’s rapidly spreading in the U.K.

“I think the data that we're seeing shows us that this variant is very transmissible, so it spreads very quickly,” said Dr. David Banach, UConn Health Hospital epidemiologist.

Banach said they’re still trying to learn more about Delta, which is also known as B.1617.2.

“One of the questions is whether it causes more severe infections. There's some suggestion that it may cause higher rates of hospitalization, and that's something that we do need to understand,” said Banach.

Connecticut’s first Delta case was discovered in early May. By late May, it was up to eight. A week later, it doubled to 16.

And the most recent report last Thursday was 32 cases.

“The thing that concerns us when you hear anything and it should concern everyone, is whether or not these vaccines are effective. So far we have some good news,” said Grant.

Current vaccines appear to offer some level of protection with two doses of Pfizer reaching nearly 90% effectiveness.

Both experts we spoke with agree if you haven’t rolled up your sleeve for a shot, this is another important reason to do so.

“Get that vaccine to protect yourself from these variants,” said Banach.

Vaccine demand continues to decline as well as the testing positivity rate and hospitalizations in Connecticut.
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