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Delta variant cases rapidly increasing in Mississippi

(WMTV)
Published: Jun. 28, 2021 at 11:01 PM CDT
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OLIVE BRANCH, Miss. (WMC) - Mississippi health officials say the Delta variant is rapidly spreading in the state.

Only about 31 percent of people in Mississippi are fully vaccinated, which makes the rapid increase of the Delta variant a major concern, even for the people who have rolled up their sleeves to take their shot.

“I think we may throw a match on this thing and we may see a little bit of an upsurge,” said the state’s epidemiologist, Dr. Paul Byers.

The official total shows 29 cases of the variant strain as of June 22, but Friday, June 25 during a meeting with the Mississippi State Medical Association, Byers said that number would surely increase.

He’s reporting at least 60 more cases were discovered within the last few days. The spread is primarily among young people, specifically the k-12 population and younger.

“We’ve seen it associated with graduation parties. We’ve seen it associated with daycares,” said Byers.

Because the Delta strain is much more contagious, it’s even spreading to the fully vaccinated population.

“The doctor said if I were to get COVID without the vaccination, it would actually kill me,” said Edith Davis of Olive Branch.

Davis suffers from a hereditary kidney disease, requiring dialysis three times a week. She was vaccinated in February.

The state’s top doctor, Dr. Thomas Dobbs, is still concerned about Mississippians like Davis, the immuno-compromised population since the variant can cause a more severe infection.

He suggests this group continues to wear masks and avoid large crowds.

Davis says she primarily only goes to work, doctor appointments, and the grocery store.

“Still the same thing. I sanitize down the carts, my hands. I’m very careful. I’m still taking temperatures with myself and my son before coming into the house just to be sure we’re not bringing anything in the house,” said Davis.

Health officials fear the numbers they’re seeing now is just the tip of the iceberg. With having one of the lowest vaccination rates in the country, Mississippi is particularly vulnerable.

“It’s going to hit us in the soft spot. We’re going to see cases and deaths that don’t have to happen,” said Dobbs.

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