Delta Variants in the US: Which States are Most Vulnerable?

06 October, 2021

The Delta variant has seeped its way into our lives in 2021. To many of us, it feels like this new villain in the Covid-19 story halted all the progress we’ve made with vaccines. But how true is this?

In this blog post, we’ll reference two articles by the New York Times and Forbes in an attempt to answer: Where states have the most Covid-19? Which are most vulnerable to the Delta variant? And how do vaccines play a role?

The Delta Variant in the US

To begin, where does the Delta variant have more prevalence in the United States? It turns out that where delta has a foothold matters less than you might think. In general, states with high vaccination rates seem to be immune from covid-19’s wrath.

The New York Times released an article with a report from PHICOR suggesting that more that half of residents n the US aren’t protected enough from the Delta variant.

It asserts Missouri and Arkansas as high-risk states, noting that they have low vaccination rate. With a map showing vulnerability to Delta, we see the Louisiana, Georgia, and Texas also present higher risks of vulnerability.

But are these the states most affected by delta?

Covid-19 Cases: How Many of Them Are the Delta Variant?

Just because other states are more protected does not mean that they’re protected enough. 

Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and New York may have higher vaccination rates—but does this mean they’re not vulnerable to delta? Not really.

Population size must surely have some sort of impact. The most vaccinated areas are often also the most populous, and that’s where delta thrives.

The New York Times claims that places with vaccinations in the 80-90% range still aren’t sufficiently vaccinated. Consider that 10% is going to be a lot more people when its 10% of the New York state population.

Also, The New York Times map of Delta risk in the US points to some hotspots with particular vulnerability in both Pennsylvania and New York.

Fortune gives us some similarly interesting insight. They provide 2 maps: one that tracks Covid cases by region & one that presents the prevalence of Delta by how many new Covid-19 cases are indeed the Delta variant.

These maps show that the least vaccinated states like Missouri, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Florida have the most Covid-19 cases. 

The other map, however, shows us that in early July, delta was affecting the Midwest and New York more than these states with high vaccination rates.

This has changed, however. Now that the summer has ended, Delta has managed to expand its borders quite quickly, and without discriminating.

If you’d like a bit more detail outlining what exactly the Delta variant is, and what it’s impact on New York City has been, check out our July article “How is the Delta Variant Affecting NYC?” to see what the CDC has revealed thus far.

Who is Most Vulnerable?

So we’ve talked about the New York Times map and the Fortune maps, but what does it all mean? Just how vulnerable are we?

While some states are particularly vulnerable, you shouldn’t freak out if you live in a high-risk state. In reality, the most vulnerable environments are made up of pockets of high infection. This Yale Medicine article terms these pockets of infection “hyperlocal outbreaks.” These towns with low vaccination rates may be surrounded by areas with high rates of vaccination, acting as a border within which the virus remains contained.

So where are these hyperlocal outbreaks? A brief look at these maps shows that there’s a lot of hotspots in the south, but not many in New England. And where is delta more prevalent within states without borders to contain it? The answer seems to be inner cities where population density has historically been high and vaccination rates have remained low.

How Vulnerable Is The US To Delta Overall?

Compared to the hotspots early in the COVID-19 pandemic, these pose far less of a problem to the nation at large. Hotspots before the vaccine were dangerous to the country at large. Now, they threaten only the unvaccinated persons in the area. 

Yale Medicine also told us the two prevalent opinions. Some believe the U.S. is in a good position because it has a high vaccination rate. Others think that conquering Delta will involve a race between the vaccine rates & the variant itself. If Delta infection rates continue to increase, however, the spread becomes more difficult to stop. 


Ultimately, it’s not worth fearing certain states—especially if you already live there or need to go. Rather, it’s best to hang in groups of unvaccinated people & wear masks when traveling or around larger groups—even if you’re vaccinated. This way, you can avoid getting infected or spreading the virus without being aware.

Any time you’re around some unvaccinated folks, we recommend you get tested. After vaccines, testing is the leading tool in preventing Covid. Get a quick PCR test at our Orlando clinic—or find your nearest Alliance location! With results in little as 30 minutes, get the quickest & most accurate results.

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