ASK THE EXPERT: Back to Covid-19 (Sorry, but It's Important)
So, I gave you a one column break from Covid, but the “new” news is really important. If you really don't want to read the rest of this column (because you are sick of reading about Covid), I'll sum up in three words: Please get vaccinated!
Now, you may be saying, “Why? We've had no cases, let alone hospitalizations or deaths, for weeks. Why bother getting vaccinated?” The answer is found not in what is happening right now, but what is likely to happen, just over the horizon.
You may have heard about the “Delta variant” of Covid. Just FYI, the variants used to be described by the country in which they originated, or with cryptic names such as B.1.1.7 (UK variant) or P.1 – based on where the variant occurred on the virus. Now, that is being replaced by Greek alphabet letters, which hopefully will make it less confusing. So the Alpha variant is also known as the UK variant. Beta variant is South Africa, Gamma variant is from Brazil, and Delta is from India.
As you may remember, India had a horrific pandemic event in the past few months. The infection rate was very high, hospitals were overwhelmed pretty much everywhere in the country, and they even ran out of oxygen. They couldn't handle the number of dead bodies quickly enough. It was terrible.
The Delta variant has been found to be more contagious than the UK variant (Alpha variant), which was more contagious than the original Covid virus. Delta appears to be more deadly as well. And, the Delta variant is in the US. It is so contagious that it is expected to be the dominant US strain in a matter of weeks.
There is, however, one piece of good news. If you are vaccinated, you are protected against the Delta variant (and all the other variants as well).
So, that's the reason for the main message of this column. Please get vaccinated! Remember, it takes between 4 and 6 weeks to be fully vaccinated (J&J vaccine, one dose—fully vaccinated 4 weeks later. Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, two doses—fully vaccinated at 5 weeks for Pfizer, 6 weeks for Moderna. If you wait until the Delta variant reaches Yates County to start getting vaccinated, it may be too late. Also, whereas the first dose of Moderna or Pfizer was up to 90% effective against the original Covid virus after one dose, this is not true for the Delta variant. It appears these vaccines are only about 30% effective after one dose against the Delta variant. You really are not fully protected until 2 weeks after the second dose. That is why it is so important to get your vaccine now.
In the next few months, we will have many visitors to our area, some from hundreds of miles away. It is a near certainty that one or more will be carrying the Delta variant, probably without even knowing it. We want the visitors—it's what keeps our economy flowing. We won't be able to stop the Delta variant from coming to our area, but we can protect ourselves from it. Currently, the vaccination rates in Yates County are: 45.57% with at least one dose, and 42.32% fully vaccinated. If Delta comes it will find a fertile population to infect. We can do better. We can protect ourselves, our families, and our community from this plague. Please get vaccinated!
Here's To Your Health!