Wendell Board of Health Updates: delta variant facts

WENDELL BOARD OF HEALTH UPDATES

Covid-19 Delta variant: Here are the facts:

  • 83% of new cases in the U.S. are currently caused by this variant, and it continues to spread.

  • It carries a viral load exponentially greater than previous strains, it needs less time exposure to cause infection, and it can spread farther. That explains why it is so contagious, more so even than the flu.

  • States with low vaccination rates have the most cases; Florida now has the highest rate in the nation. (There is also a cluster of several hundred cases here in Massachusetts in the Cape Cod area, so try to avoid going there.)

  • Over 97% of those hospitalized for Covid are not vaccinated; 99.5% of deaths from Covid are unvaccinated people.

  • In the two-week period ending July 21, there were 400 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in children under the age of 14 in Massachusetts.

  • Because of its viral load, breakthrough cases in fully vaccinated people can occur. Since the vaccine lowers the viral load, vaccinated people positive for Covid may be asymptomatic or have a mild case. They are very unlikely to need hospitalization or to die. It may be possible to carry the virus; the science on that is still ongoing. Booster shots are not yet being recommended, subject to change.

  • A final fact: 70% of Wendell residents eligible for vaccinations have received them. That means 30% have not, mainly in the 20-29 age group. Please encourage them to do so.

What to do:

  • If you intend to stay unvaccinated, be aware that you are at high risk for the Delta variant. Please be compassionate for those who cannot be vaccinated for age or health reasons, and wear a mask in public places. Wear a mask at home if you have unvaccinated children or family members with compromising health conditions.

  • Everyone should avoid travel to high risk states or locations and avoid crowded events, even if outside. It is sensible to return to mask wearing, especially in public places including the Wendell Country Store or the Town Hall during the Good Neighbors program. Make sure your children over the age of two wear masks as well.

  • Be aware of Covid symptoms and get tested if they appear. If you know you have been exposed to a person positive for Covid, get tested. If test results are negative, continue to monitor for symptoms. We were very good at being proactive during the earlier days of Covid, and we can do it again!

Barbara Craddock
Wendell Board of Health