Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Health Officials concerned about the Delta Variant in the U.S.
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn (WDEF) – Now that nearly 50% of Americans are fully vaccinated, Health Experts from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Health gathered today to discuss how the delta variant could impact the nation’s Covid-19 recovery process and if long haul symptoms could play a role in halting our progress.
With Covid-19 transmission in the U.S. at its lowest level since April of 2020, most Americans are finally getting back to life as we knew it..
But the delta variant of the Covid-19 virus is beginning to surge, and in other parts of the world the number of COVID cases are on the rise once again–even in countries with similar vaccination rates.
“In the U.S. even though cases were consistently declining in May and June, the number of cases has more than doubled in the last two weeks. It’s possible things can get much worse. In the U.K for example vaccination levels are similar here to the US but in the past 6 weeks there the number of Covid cases has jumped tenfold, ” says Dr. David Dowdy, Department of Epidemiology, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
The CDC estimates that between February 2020 and March 2021, about 115 million people were infected with the COVID-19 virus, and new research suggests that 30% of those people are reporting long-term symptoms of Covid-19 – such as loss of taste and smell, brain fog, fatigue and depression-long haul problems that continue to fill hospitals and impact recovery efforts.
“Now we have a whole group of individuals who have survived Covid-19 , perhaps with very mild infections that are now going on into a chronic state that will likely be with us for a really long time. If you are vaccinated and you do get infected, we don’t know what it will mean for long covid. So, we have to assume that it’s somewhere in the range of 5 to 30% of individuals could have long Covid symptoms,” says Dr. Priya Duggal, Professor, Department of Epidemiology, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
Health officials say that although the vaccine has proven to be effective against the delta variant, with only ½ of the United States fully vaccinated, there is still the threat of another surge.
“Even if things have been more normal for us here in the last few months. That’s not the case for billions of people living in harder hit countries. As long as the virus is circulating and mutating in other countries, it’s going to be a threat to us here too,” says Dr. Dowdy.
Experts say they are still encouraged about a post pandemic recovery – as long as vaccines continue to be easily accessible and information readily available. For more information click here.