North Memorial Health ER Doc: Delta COVID Variant Raising Concerns
The push continues to get more people vaccinated against the virus that causes COVID-19 as concerns grow about the highly contagious delta variant.
Health experts say the delta variant accounts for 58 percent of new cases nationwide. Thursday, the Minnesota Department of Health reported 216 new cases and two deaths.
Although things have somewhat returned to normal, Minnesota health experts say now is not the time to let your guard down when it comes to COVID-19, especially if you’re not vaccinated.
“We’ve seen proportionately higher levels of hospitalization per infection with the delta variant in the last two weeks than we have observed at any point previous in the pandemic,” said Dr. Cameron Berg, an emergency room physician with North Memorial Health.
Berg says the delta variant accounts for a higher proportion of new cases because this particular strain is more easily transmittable.
“If you were walking past somebody or in conversation with somebody that was infected with the delta variant — remember 50 percent of the time or so they might not even know it — it’s likelier you could contract that infection than it was, say seven months ago,” Berg explained.
Not only is the delta variant more infectious, patients tend to get sicker.
“If you were to become symptomatic with it, it also appears likelier that you would be at risk of more severe disease,” Berg said.
ER Doc: Vaccines Very Effective Against Delta Variant
Berg says a large number of people admitted for COVID-19 at North Memorial Health Hospital are not vaccinated. He strongly recommends people get vaccinated if they’re eligible.
“We know that people who are fully vaccinated have about 88 percent protection against the delta variant, which is quite good,” Berg said.
Health experts say misinformation is mostly to blame for the millions of still unvaccinated Americans.
“I understand concerns about new technology and new vaccines and potential complications, and those are all legitimate, but when you compare them to the very real possibility of having severe disease from COVID or dying, I think the answer is quite straightforward,” Berg said.