What to Know About the Delta Variant in Minnesota
Although positive COVID-19 case numbers are still relatively low, they are still increasing. The delta variant has shown to be more contagious and spread faster to unvaccinated people. Many cities around the world have reinstated a mask mandate due to the concern of increased COVID-19 cases.
The delta variant is mostly affecting those who are unvaccinated, according to Dr. David Wilcox, Sanford Health of Northern Minnesota VP Medical Officer. As COVID-19 cases are starting to pick back up, health officials are urging people to get vaccinated.
“This is the one that’s become the more efficient at spreading and making patients ill, and of course it’s affecting those who are unvaccinated the most,” said Dr. Wilcox. “All of the vaccines have been very effective at reducing hospitalization and death, so that’s the important point, is to continue to be aware that vaccination is the right path for avoiding this particular variant.”
The history of all viruses is to mutate over time. The delta variant is a new version of the COVID-19 virus and has shown to be more contagious.
“It can reproduce itself at a higher rate more quickly, so people get sick a little faster, as well as it’s more contagious, it’s more successful,” said Dr. Wilcox. “So the average initial COVID virus could affect about two to two-and-a-half people for every person that got sick, and the R0, the ability to infect others for the delta [variant] is between four and eight, so that’s where they’re getting the twice as infectious and making you sick faster, earlier.”
In addition, the state department of health held a press conference today, the first in several weeks, where they addressed recent concerns and news about the delta variant globally and in the state.
“The delta variant, which is significantly more infectious than the original strain, has become the dominant version circulating in Minnesota as well as in the country overall,” said Jan Malcolm, Minnesota Health Commissioner. “Our wonderful epidemiologists at the Minnesota Department of Health now say that the delta variant is causing three out of every four COVID cases in Minnesota at this point in time, and that means trouble for people who aren’t protected because they never got vaccinated.”
“While COVID-19 cases are currently still below the state’s case positivity threshold of 5%, positive COVID-19 case numbers are increasing in Minnesota.