As cases from the Delta variant of COVID-19 continue to rise, health officials are sounding the alarm.
“If we can’t find a way to get everyone vaccinated and get control of this, there are going to be many consequences,” said UVA Health CEO Dr. Craig Kent.
Infections are climbing in every state, including Virginia.
“The Delta variant is definitely responsible for most of the cases in the country right now and it is more contagious than previous variants,” said New River Valley Health Director Dr. Noelle Bissell.
COVID-19 vaccines are protecting people from serious illness, hospitalization and death, according to health experts.
Right now, many adults are not vaccinated and children younger than 12 still cannot get a shot.
“The majority of the patients that we’re admitting to the hospital haven’t been vaccinated,” said Kent.
Experts said a concerning new trend is emerging as the number of cases involving children is also on the rise, just as schools get ready to welcome students back.
“Unvaccinated people are three times more likely to get infected when exposed, eight times more likely to get symptoms and 25 times more likely to be hospitalized,” said Bissell.
Doctors say the Delta variant spreads much faster and is far more likely to infect vaccinated people; however, they don’t expect to reach numbers as severe as last year’s.
“The fact that we have unvaccinated people is what keeps the virus alive and well,” Kent added. “It’s what keeps all of us in jeopardy.”
Experts say less than 50% of people in Virginia are fully vaccinated at this time.
Below is information from VDH as to the number of cases among unvaccinated individuals: