Chicago has so far reported at least 15 cases of the new Delta variant of the coronavirus, the city’s chief doctor said Thursday, but noted that it is not the dominant variant in the city.
Dr. Allison Arwady, commissioner for the Chicago Department of Public Health, said during a Facebook Live that the Delta variant, first discovered in India, is responsible for just over a dozen cases in the city.
Federal officials say they are aiming to get more Americans vaccinated as soon as possible so the Delta variant can no longer gain a foothold in the United States.
“In Great Britain, the delta variant is quickly becoming the dominant variant. It replaces the B.1.1.7 (strain) ”, said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergies and Infectious Diseases, on Tuesday. “We cannot allow that to happen in the USA.”
According to researchers, the Delta variant has accounted for more than 60% of all new cases in the UK in the past few months. The variant is also largely responsible for a massive increase in infections and deaths in India, clogging hospital systems and stretching health workers to the limit.
Fauci and other officials say a certain variant is more contagious than others and may be associated with a higher risk of hospitalization than previous strains of the virus.
Coronavirus vaccines against Delta and other strains of the virus have been found to be largely effective, but Fauci and other experts say it is important to get both doses of the two-dose vaccines available. Studies from the National Institutes of Health suggest that one dose of the COVID vaccine is only 33% effective against the Delta variant, but two doses of the Pfizer vaccine increase that effectiveness rate to 88%, according to researchers.
Arwady has pointed to similar statistics in advocating for residents to get their COVID vaccinations, and says that this is the best way to prevent variants from spreading in the Chicago area and in other communities around the world Enforce the country.
“All three of our existing licensed COVID vaccines in the US continue to offer extensive protection against all known variants, so we monitor a lot for variants,” she said Tuesday.
The Biden government has set a goal of getting 70% of Americans to have at least one vaccination by July 4th. Currently, 63.7% of the population have had at least one vaccination, and 53% of all adults in the US are fully vaccinated.