Delta Variant A Cause For Concern As Health Officials Push For Vaccinations

CHARLOTTE, NC – Health officials are delivering a wake-up call as the Delta variant spreads in the Carolinas.

“It hasn’t gone away. It’s not going away,” said one woman in a Pineville shopping center.

For many, the pandemic continues as they take precautions.

“I’m still trying to stay back away from people, washing my hands. I’m doing everything I can,” continued the shopper.

The Delta Variant now accounts for 83% of the cases nationwide and is leading to increases in local hospitalizations.

“We don’t want to see tragedies. We don’t want to have situations where people don’t decide to get vaccinated until something serious happens to them or someone they love,” said Dr. David Priest with Novant Health.

Dr. Priest says they’re seeing more Covid patients at every Novant hospital location. Fifteen percent of patients are needing ventilators. The average age is in the mid 40’s. And 99% of the hospitalizations are in unvaccinated people.

“The time to get vaccinated is now. It’s really the only way that we can slow the spread of these new more contagious variants,” said Dr. Priest.

Priest says younger people are still lagging when it comes to vaccination rates.

“More commonly now, there is almost an apathy. There is an apathy particularly in millennials and Generation Z, where they just don’t see it as a threat to them,” said Dr. Priest.

Health officials say children wearing masks in school may be critical to stopping the spread this fall.

“The thought is that because children are the ones that are unvaccinated, that when they do return to school, we need to do everything that we can to mitigate transmission there,” said Dr. Amina Ahmed with Atrium Health.

She says while most children don’t experience severe illness from Covid, they still have high transmission rates.

“Because adults are vaccinated, 20-25% of all the cases in the US, if you look at it in the last two to three weeks, are in children,” explained Dr. Ahmed.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper is expected to make an announcement regarding Covid on Wednesday afternoon.