Should Arizona be worried about the new COVID-19 Delta variant?

Face mask with Arizona flag (file)

A new variant of COVID-19 that was first discovered in India is on the rise across the United States, and experts say it spreads faster than other variants.

The World Health Organization declared the Delta variant a variant of concern, and researchers believe this will soon be the dominant strain come summertime.

However, health experts say the Delta variant may not be cause of a crisis in Arizona due to the state's vaccination rate.

The new strain arrived in Arizona three weeks ago, according to researchers.

It is a lot more transmissible, it can spread from person to person a lot easier," said Will Humble, director of the Arizona Public Health Association.

Researchers believe it accounts for about 2% of the infection rates here in the state, and Humble expects that number to rise.

"I don’t expect the variant to become a major public health problem in AZ, mainly because our higher risk persons have been vaccinated," Humble said.

The CDC says both the Pfizer and Modern vaccines are effective against the strain, and the Biden administration officials are studying the effective of the Johnson & Johnson shot to fight against it.

"It's no more lethal than the other variants," Humble said. "If you are fully vaccinated or if you have had a previous infection from another strain, you get exposed to a Delta variant - you are no more likely to get an illness from COVID-19 as any other variants."

The Alpha variant from the United Kingdom has been the dominant variant for the last few months in Arizona, but researchers predict that this one will take over by mid-summer. Health experts say this variant will be a big problem for countries that don't have low vaccination rates.


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