Healthcare Experts express concern over the contagious Delta Variant

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn (WDEF) – The threat of the Delta Variant continues  to grow throughout the United States.  

Recently, Dr. Anthony Fauci called it “the greatest threat” to the country’s efforts to eliminate the virus. 

“If they are not vaccinated they should freak out, it’s time to freak out,” says Dr, mark Anderson, Infectious Disease at CHI Memorial 

The Delta variant is a version of the coronavirus that has been found in more than 80 countries, but was first detected in India. 

“Just as viruses replicate themselves or make copies of themselves, over time there will be some kind of shift in the genetic makeup of those viruses and it’s just kinda survival of the fittest. The variants that survive are often the ones that are most easily replicated in humans or most transmissible,” says Dr. Jay Sizemore, Infectious Disease at Erlanger. 

“It is now in Europe, it’s become the predominant virus in Great Britain and it’s in the United States and is spreading rapidly here,” says Dr. Anderson.

Officials say the delta variant is reportedly 75% more contagious and is even MORE likely to cause severe illness.

“The Coronavirus various mutation rate is not particularly high but we are seeing variants emerge because there is so much virus replicating. We haven’t had this much sheer volume of a single virus in the world since 1918,” says Dr. Anderson.

Local healthcare experts say this new variant is of major concern for many states in the south – including Tennessee – as the majority of the population has yet to be fully vaccinated-leaving us extremely vulnerable. 

“We are certainly at risk as this becomes the dominant variant in our country, especially if you are unvaccinated, of having a legitimate surge and certainly if not a mini surge moving forward. Who knows what is going to happen in the fall,” says Dr. Sizemore. 

Health officials say that although the vaccine is not 100% effective against the Covid-19 virus, it has proven to lessen the severity of the symptoms often preventing hospitalizations and death. 

So far there have only been 27 reported cases involving the Delta Variant in Tennessee – but that number is expected to increase . For more information about this variant or where you can get vaccinated 

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