Northern Michigan Health Departments Closely Watching Delta Variant Cases
Doctors across the state are starting to see more cases of the delta variant of COVID-19.
Doctors say it is even more contagious than the U.K variant that swept through Michigan in the spring.
The bad news is this variant spreads easily, the good news is vaccines appear effective against it.
But that means communities with low vaccination rates could be most at risk.
The delta variant is starting to pop up more often in Michigan, with doctors watching its movement closely.
“It’s estimated to be about 50 to 60% more contagious than the alpha variant which many people might remember as the b117 variant, which is what spread so rapidly through Michigan over the spring,” said Dr. Jennifer Morse, Medical Director for the CMDHD.
Doctors say if you’re fully vaccinated, you likely have strong protection against this variant.
But communities where a majority of the population is still only partially vaccinated, or not vaccinated at all, are most at risk.
“So when you get into these communities where there are low vaccination rates, again it doesn’t take much for one or two people that are sick to cause a really big surge, big outbreaks, big hospitalization rates, all of a sudden hospitals getting overloaded,” said Dr. Morse.
And that is the major concern more people infected with the variant, leading to new variants and undoing the progress made by the state.
“That person to person transmission, as that happens, it gives the virus not only opportunity to infect more people but it also gives it more opportunity to change into a variant of concern,” said Lisa Peacock, Health Officer with the Health Department of Northwest Michigan.
Doctors say one of the populations most at risk for being infected are children 12 and younger.
That’s because a vaccine has yet to be approved for that age group.