Delta variant spreading quickly through Mid-South

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The CDC said the Delta variant is now the most dominant strain of COVID-19 in the country.

In some states, the new, highly transmissible variant already makes more than half of its COVID cases.

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Doctors say the time is now to roll up your sleeves if you haven’t been vaccinated yet.

“The less the virus spreads, the fewer opportunities we have to develop future variants that could be even more harmful than the Delta variant,” said Morgan Jones, clinical pharmacy specialist at Methodist University Hospital.

The Delta variant is quickly making its way through the Mid-South.

In Arkansas, Governor Asa Hutchinson said the Delta variant became the most dominant strain from the end of May to July 5.

In Mississippi, health officials expressed concerns during a June 30 briefing but when I asked them to comment Thursday, they were not available.

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In Shelby County alone, the health department is reporting 58 people have the Delta variant with another 26 suspected cases.

Jones said they’ve seen more COVID cases coming into the ICU at Methodist University Hospital as well.

“The longer we wait to get to herd immunity and for people to get vaccinated, the more likely there more variants that the vaccine may not protect against will form,” said Jones.

He said there’s also a correlation between the spread of the Delta variant and the vaccination rate.

Tennessee, Arkansas and Mississippi all have some of the lowest vaccination rates in the country. In fact, Mississippi has the lowest, leaving this area more exposed to the new variant.

“All the numbers we are going to see are going be skewed toward the population that is unvaccinated, meaning the more unvaccinated people that you have in your area the more likely you are to see a rise in these cases,” said Jones.