Delta Variant Poses Serious Risk to Communities With Low Vaccination Rates

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With the Delta variant of COVID-19 spreading like wildfire in communities with low vaccination rates, there is renewed concern for serious risk in L.A.’s African American communities.

A new Kaiser Family Foundation report finds that continued lower vaccination rates put minority groups at a greater risk for the coronavirus as new variants—like the Delta variant— spread.

While recent trends suggest a narrowing of racial gaps in vaccinations at the national level, particularly for Hispanic people, who have received a larger share of vaccinations compared to their share of the total population, the Los Angeles County Public Health Department reported 275 new Covid-19 cases among Blacks in the last week of June (which was up by 77).

It marks the third consecutive week of rising numbers for new cases of COVID-19 among blacks in L.A. county, where the total number of diagnosed Black cases are 47,653 with 1,919 deaths.

The White House has said it would send out special teams to hot spots around the United States to combat the highly contagious Delta coronavirus variant amid rising case counts in parts of the country where vaccination rates remain low.

“It is clear that communities where people remain unvaccinated are communities that remain vulnerable,” said U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Rochelle Walensky.

The easily transmitted Delta variant is believed to have become the second most prevalent coronavirus variant in the United States according Walensky. County officials were so concerned about the variant that they recommended that vaccinated residents resume wearing face coverings indoors after detecting that about half of all recent cases were the delta variant.

In the week ending June 12, Delta variants comprised of nearly half of all variants sequenced in Los Angeles County. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) noted that Delta variants are now responsible for about one in every five new infections across the country, up from approximately one in every 10 the week before.

“While COVID-19 vaccine provides very effective protection preventing hospitalizations and deaths against the Delta variant, the strain is proving to be more transmissible and is expected to become more prevalent,” said Barbara Ferrer, Director of L.A. County Public Health. “Mask wearing remains an effective tool for reducing transmission, especially indoors where the virus may be easily spread through inhalation of aerosols emitted by an infected person.”

President Joe Biden had set a goal of 70 percent of all adults getting at least one shot by July 4. CDC data show that as of June 30, 66.5 percent of adults age 18 and older had received at least one shot. At the same time, the data show that 87.9 percent of adults age 65 and older have gotten at least one vaccine dose.

“We still have to be careful and cautious,” said Dr. Jerry Abraham of Kedren Health. 

Abraham—dubbed by some as “South L.A.’s Dr. Fauci’—also pointed out that the national hospitalization and death rates are just as high as they were two months ago. 

“It’s been a difficult 17 months now, but that doesn’t mean it’s all over,” Abraham continued. “The faster we all get vaccinated, the faster we all get back to life.”


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