New concerns as COVID-19 Delta variant found in Shelby County

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Mask mandates and COVID-19 restrictions may have been lifted across three Mid-South states, but doctors said it’s not time to let your guard down.

There’s a new COVID-19 variant, the Delta variant.

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”I’m over the COVID-19 pandemic as well, but it’s not over us,” said Dr. LaTonya Washington with St. Francis Hospital Memphis.

Washington said the Delta variant is highly contagious, and infected people may suffer from other non-tradition COVID symptoms.

”It’s associated with hearing impairments, associated with more GI upset and more blood clots,” said Washington.

Despite budding variants, states across the country have loosened COVID-19 restrictions, which is why Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital Doctor Nick Hysmith has encouraged all to mask up and get vaccinated.

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“If you are in a large group of people and you do not know who all are vaccinated, you should stay masked,” said Hysmith.

Hysmith said the vaccine is effective against protecting people from contracting the variant and becoming severely ill from it.

“It’s at least 88 percent effective after you have had both doses,” said Hysmith.

Hysmith said only one case of the Delta variant has been detected in Memphis.

The variant currently makes up 6 percent of COVID cases in the U.S.