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CDC points to Mississippi as one of five places where Delta variant could have worst impact

Published: Jun. 29, 2021 at 11:46 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Mississippi is one of five states singled out by the CDC as a place where the Delta variant of COVID-19 could have the worst impact.

The other states include Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Wyoming.

At the Mississippi Department of Health’s virtual press conference Tuesday, State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers said the reason Mississippi is particularly vulnerable to the Delta variant is due to its low vaccination rate.

“We are seeing outbreaks of the Delta variant occurring among elementary school kids, high school-age kids, middle school kids,” Dr. Byers said.

As of Tuesday, the department reported 78 cases of the Delta variant across the state. More than 80% of those cases occurred in the Jackson metro area.

“The way to beat this, the way to interrupt this cycle of continued concern over variant strains that are highly transmissible that can lead to more cases, hospitalizations, and deaths is to get vaccinated,” Dr. Byers said.

A recent CNN article cited Former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb recommending getting vaccines into the hands of doctors so that they can supply doses from their offices. In the article, Dr. Gottlieb said people who are going to be convinced to get vaccinated by people like Dr. Anthony Fauci or their state health department are likely already vaccinated.

Dr. Laura Miller, who practices in Jefferson Davis County, said she’s experienced this first-hand.

“Now, we are moving into individual approaches with patients who may not have been vaccinated yet,” Dr. Miller said.

She said she had a patient just last week who hadn’t ever been asked why she didn’t want to get the vaccine.

“When she asked me the questions, I was able to answer each one of them, and we were able to get her to where she wanted to get vaccinated,” Dr. Miller said.

She said a lack of knowledge about the vaccine is partially why Mississippi is so far behind, but she says she and other doctors are more than happy to take on the role of educators, especially as the Delta variant continues to spread.

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