Health department warns Delta variant could become dominate COVID-19 strain by Labor Day

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Shelby County Health Department warns the more contagious Delta strain could be the dominant variant by Labor Day.

Now, there are concerns about what could happen if cases spike again.

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Dr. Threlkeld with Baptist Hospital said another lockdown would not be practical because more people are getting vaccinated.

He said the key to stopping the virus from spreading is getting vaccinated.

“These variants are just going to be that much more efficient at seeking out those people who decided not to get protected,” said Threlkeld.

Threlkeld is an infectious disease specialist.

He said the best way to protect yourself from the more contagious Delta variant is to get vaccinated.

So far, the health department has 14 confirmed and 10 probable cases

Deputy Health Department Director David Sweat expects the number to increase.

“If we continue with that trajectory by Labor Day almost all the cases in Shelby County could be because of the Delta variant,” said Sweat.

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Sweat said the new variant is 50 percent more contagious than the alpha variant.

Because of this, some people are concerned about another lockdown.

Today, President Joe Biden said the United States would not enter a lockdown and urged people to get vaccinated.

Threlkeld believes this is the right move.

“I think that lockdowns certainly had their place in the beginning of the pandemic but I think it’s not just the president, it’s going to be Mayors and Governors who are going to have an impossible task even if the numbers were to suggest such a thing,” said Dr. Threlkeld.

Overall, Dr. Threlkeld said the solution is simple.

Get vaccinated or risk getting sick.

“It’s going to get harder and harder to escape an infection and it just adds more and more weight,” said Dr. Threlkeld.

Right now, at least 40 percent of the people in the county have received at least one dose.

The health department said they are almost 54 percent to their vaccination goal.

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