As Delta Variant Spreads, Doctor Urges Arizonans To Get Vaccinated

Published: Thursday, July 1, 2021 - 1:44pm
Updated: Friday, July 2, 2021 - 8:02am
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The highly infectious form of COVID-19 known as the delta variant is quickly becoming more dominant in Arizona. And health care workers are already seeing its impact.

The delta variant, which was first observed in India, is estimated to be 40% to 60% more contagious than the alpha variant, which has been the most common strain in Arizona recently. The delta variant quickly outpaced the alpha variant to become the most dominant strain in the U.K. and experts expect the same to happen in the U.S.

In Arizona, about 3% of cases in May came from the delta variant. By June, the delta variant made up nearly 17% of Arizona cases, according to TGen North, the lab sequencing the largest share of COVID-19 test samples in the state. 

As delta spreads, some of the state’s progress against COVID-19 appears to be slipping. Arizona is now averaging about 528 new infections per day. Two weeks ago, the average was 417 cases per day. And Dr. Michael White with Valleywise Health said his hospitals’ COVID units are getting busier.

“We have 12 patients that are COVID-19 disease positive. We had been down to one patient two weeks ago within the facilities, so this is a definite increase that we’re seeing,” White told reporters Thursday.

White noted most patients now being infected with COVID-19 have not been vaccinated. He said getting more Arizonans vaccinated could help the state avoid another surge of cases.

But Arizona's vaccination rate remains below the national average — just half of Arizonans have had a shot.

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