Breaking down what we know so far about the Covid-19 Delta variant, & taking a look at how it’s affecting us here in Miami.
We went through a lot this past year. And though we’ve all been hit differently, we can agree on one thing: it’s been a roller coaster of emotions.
We’ve felt anger, fear, guilt and sadness. And ultimately, we thought to ourselves: it’s time to stop feeling these emotions and time to act instead.
It seemed to work. Global efforts combined, scientists and entrepreneurs provided answers and solutions. Local & state governments rallied their efforts to build infrastructure for getting us all vaccinated, and…
Here we are today! Mask mandate lifted, back in our offices, and traveling internationally once more. But is it really over?
The Delta variant calls everything into question. Suddenly, our confidence is shaken. And we’re feeling an uncertainty that’s all too familiar.
So, let’s break down the relevant news so far.
What is the Delta Variant?
The particularly aggressive Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2 started in India. It’s a very contagious strain of the virus, first identified on December 12th. It swept rapidly through India, quickly making its way to Great Britain as well.
And it was in Britain that the covid variant was first isolated. How did this covid variant make its way to South Florida, of all places? Good question. Who is responsible for spreading covid across the country? We may never know.
The covid strain spread rapidly among those who had already been vaccinated against covid. This development prompted fear in all of us, and it did so right when things seemed to be improving in the US.
Delta Variant Comes To The United States
We first detected the delta variant in India.
It’s journey through the United States, however, begins in Missouri in March 2021.
According to the FL Phoenix, Missouri has been the state most severely affected with Delta variant cases. They report that the Delta Variant accounts for 75% of all Missouri COVID cases.
This aggressive strain has worked its way through the States, with a significant impact in Nevada, California, New Jersey, Texas, and more recently—Florida.
How Is The Covid Delta Variant Affecting Florida?
On the 15th of July, the Florida Phoenix reported that 47.3% of all Florida residents have been vaccinated—putting us right under the national average (48.3%).
They also reported that Delta covid cases accounted for 13.4% of new COVID cases in Florida. The UK variant that was introduced to us in December is still responsible for most cases, 48.4% as of July 15th. And the Brazil variant accounts for 18.1% of them.
The UK variant is still by and large the one affecting us the most. Some recent news updates suggest, however, that this new variant may be far more dangerous than the ones we’ve encountered here before.
What do we know so far? We know this variant is strong. We know it got to the US in March. And we know that now it’s already here in Florida, infecting our residents.
How exactly does vaccination play into this?
Florida Vaccine Data Updates
Miami-Dade Mayor told 7News that 3/4ths of people ages 12 and up have been vaccinated in her community—suggesting that the city’s been quite successful at dispersing covid vaccine & testing options. But, this doesn’t consider people who come from abroad to get vaccinated.
And, remember, 47.3% of all Florida residents have been vaccinated. So, what has this revealed? Well, despite imperfect data, we can safely assume that a larger percentage of South Florida is vaccinated than of the US.
But, South Florida has more densely populated areas than that of the US average—so how much safer or less safe does this make us from the Delta variant? How is herd immunity affecting the risk? Conversely, how does coming in contact with more people per day affect the risk?
The direct answer is unclear, but here’s what we know so far.
Delta is aggressive & has made its presence known in our city. And as soon as it arrived, this new variant begged the question:
Can we still catch the delta variant if fully vaccinated?
Well, we’ve seen quite a bit of evidence in recent news that:
Yes, vaccinated people can catch the Covid-19 Delta variant…but they’re still far more protected than those who have not been vaccinated.
Non-vaccinated people are not only at a higher risk of catching it, but they’re also more likely to be hospitalized and even die from this Covid Delta Variant.
Delta Variant in South Florida: The News Seeps In
On July 14, Local 10 News reported that Miami Dade Commissioner Joe Martinez tested positive for Covid-19—despite already being vaccinated.
This both raises and answers the question: Can you get the Covid-19 Delta Variant despite being vaccinated?
The answer is yes. But there’s more to it than that.
Local10 reports that these instances are deemed “vaccine breakthrough cases” by the CDC.
The overall expert recommendation given at this point was:
Keep getting vaccinated—it’ll still soften the Delta variant’s blow if it happens to come your way.
We know that this uncompromising Delta variant affects us on a national level, but this data at this point, on the 14th, shed little light on the Delta variant’s direct effect on South Florida.
Our city is demographically different from the rest of the US. Notably, it’s a business hub for Latin America and an international travel destination. So we should consider how this might affect us specifically in South Florida.
Delta Variant in South Florida: Moving With Caution
Only 2 days later on July 16th, Local10 once again reported on the Delta variant—now with more urgency.
While previous news maintained hopeful language and a positive attitude about the state of vaccinations, this one expressed more urgency about the looming, dangerous variant.
This update revealed that hospitalizations in South Florida have gone up. We don’t have enough data for a clear picture, but the state of our hospitals give us a reason to worry.
While reporting on the Covid-19 Delta Variant, Local10 reporters went from noting a national pattern on the 14th to cautioning against its possible implications locally on the 16th.
In this short span of time, the news about this Covid strain strengthened its tone, now reminding us that:
The World Health Organization advocates we resume wearing masks & following other Covid precautions. Check to see a list of measures.
What Should You Do?
We’ve also seen the vaccine’s positive effect in fighting the Covid strains we’ve had thus far—and it’s important that we don’t neglect how effectively the vaccine protects us from the devil we know.
After taking one look at compounded expert opinions, the evidence clearly shows that getting vaccinated does indeed make a difference.
Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, called this spike in cases of the Delta Variant “a pandemic of the unvaccinated,” highlighting that the Delta Variant only threatens those who haven’t gotten vaccinated or simply can’t.
So, if you can, it helps to get vaccinated. There’s a lot we don’t know, but if you can get infected while vaccinated, this likely means you can transmit the virus to others while vaccinated as well.
For your own health and for that of anyone around you who may be immunocompromised, take added precautions.
Tap into those same, reliable measures we’ve been taking this past year and a half: wearing masks, social distancing, and regular testing.
Should We Freak Out?
Let’s take a step back, avoid panicking & remember: this isn’t last summer.
As long as we stay informed, we’re far better equipped to handle developments like these than we once were.
Keep in Mind:
Now we know which habits and behaviors can help protect us. Now we have access to vaccines that help build herd immunity.
And now, we’ve learned that these vaccines still provide solid protection from this big, bad Delta variant. So even if you catch it, there’s no need to freak out.
All in all, Alliance recommends we go back to basics: Masks, social distancing, frequent Covid-19 tests, & vaccines when possible.
To get tested anytime, anywhere with same-day results, call us for mobile testing at 844-678-0055.
Prefer in-person service? Book an appointment at our Miami Beach clinic for quick and easy testing. Or just select the Alliance clinic nearest to you!