The “Delta variant,” which originated in India, is “60 percent more contagious than the original COVID-19,” Farrar said. ”And it’s more severe in nature than Alpha, which is the UK (United Kingdom) variant.”
People in the United States now being hospitalized with the Delta strain “are a lot younger and a lot sicker,” Farrar said.
Farrar said there now is a newer variant in India called “Delta plus,” which seems to be more transmissible than Delta.
The Delta form is rapidly spreading in this country, partly because people with it have higher loads of the virus and carry the disease longer. “Therefore, they shed more virus, and they shed it longer,” Farrar said.
She urged everyone to get vaccinated to help prevent new variants.
“When you’re an unvaccinated individual, if the virus comes into your body, it’s the perfect place for it to replicate and cause more problems with this pandemic,” Farrar said. “So we really have to continue to encourage people to open their hearts and get vaccinated, not necessarily for themselves, but their family members and society.”
City health staff, which has vaccinated almost 20,000 people, is focusing on vaccinating the most susceptible groups of people, and going weekly to the Butler County jail. The staff also goes to Serve City, the Salvation Army, New Life Mission and Center Haven.
They also give shots to homebound people who are referred by the Council on Aging of Southwestern Ohio. Homebound people who need shots or those referring others can call 513-785-7091 or 513-785-7092.
Studies have found the Pfizer vaccine is 88 percent effective against the Delta variant if the person is fully vaccinated two weeks before coming in contact with it. It’s only 33.5 percent effective for those who have received only one shot. Moderna’s shot has similar results. There aren’t yet results for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Butler County so far has had 39,066 cases of the virus, which climbed by 252 in the past two weeks, about double the new cases from the prior two weeks.
“So we are seeing an uptick,” Farrar said.