COVID-19 Delta variant causing concerns

Published 11:00 am Saturday, July 17, 2021

Mississippians are growing concerned about the spread of the COVID-19 Delta variant as cases are rising in the State.

In a July 12 tweet, State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs stated “Pretty much ALL cases in MS are Delta variant right now. Vast majority of cases/hospitalizations/deaths UNVACCINATED. 7% of deaths in vaccinated worrisome — we are allowing too much circulating Delta to reach our most vulnerable.”

The following day, Dobbs reported that seven children are in the ICU and two are on life support because of a surge in Delta variant cases.

The CDC website states that the Delta variant emerged in India. It is considered highly transmissible and is quickly becoming the dominant strain across the U.S, but the scientific consensus is that fully vaccinated people have good protection against the variant. It is considered a greater threat to younger children, according to recent studies. All children ages 12 and older are eligible to receive a COVID vaccine in the U.S.

According to the Mississippi State Department of Health, numerous outbreaks have been identified in youth camps, faith-based gatherings, funerals and social events.

Due to the rapid increase in Delta variant cases and outbreaks, combined with the low overall vaccination rate in the state, MSDH is making the following recommendations through July 26, 2021.

• All children 12 years and older receive the COVID vaccination.

• All Mississippi residents under the age of 65 avoid indoor mass gatherings regardless of vaccination status.

• All residents with chronic underlying medical conditions avoid indoor mass gatherings.

• All unvaccinated people wear a mask when indoors in public settings.

“We are seeing numerous outbreaks at mass gatherings: camps, schools, faith-based, funerals, social gatherings,” said Dobbs.

As of July 14, the MSDH is reporting 557 new cases of COVID-19 in Mississippi and 37 ongoing outbreaks in long term facilities. Four deaths have been reported between July 12 and July 14, one each in Carroll, Harrison, Lawrence and Walthall Counties.

The total number of cases in Lincoln County stands at 4,046, with a total of 114 deaths. There have been 197 long term facility cases in the county resulting in 40 long term facility deaths. There has been one reported Delta variant case in Lincoln County. Twenty-five percent of Lincoln County has been fully vaccinated, according to the MSDH.

The State’s COVID-19 totals are now 326,270 cases, 7,460 deaths, and 952,745 persons fully vaccinated.