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Experts suggest people get vaccinated to avoid new COVID-19 variant

Published: Jun. 25, 2021 at 7:01 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - According to the Center for Disease Control, the new delta variant makes up around 20% of COVID-19 cases in the United States.

The delta variant has been found in more than 80 countries since it was first detected in India, including the United States. It got its name from the World Health Organization, which names notable variants after letters of the Greek alphabet. The new variant is more contagious and more likely to infect children.

But crowds in Iowa are still gathering for events. That’s because the COVID-19 vaccine works against this new variant.

Dr. Daniel Diekema, who works at the University of Iowa, said the vaccine is highly effective against the delta variant.

He said this new variant should encourage more people to get the vaccine.

“They should be feeling energized to get vaccinated,” Diekema said. “I think the main message from the spread of this delta variant is to go get vaccinated as soon as you can.”

State data on Friday said less than 50% of Iowans are fully vaccinated. The largest group not vaccinated are children under 12-years-old. Those children are not eligible to get a COVID-19 vaccine yet.

Dr. Dustin Arnold, who is the Chief Medical Officer at UnityPoint Health - St. Luke’s Hospital in Cedar Rapids, said some precautions can help stop the virus from spreading.

“Social distance when available, closed spaces with poor ventilation are not a great idea. But, playing outside playing baseball, playing softball that’s fine,” he said.

Viruses constantly mutate, and most changes aren’t concerning. But there is a worry that some variants might evolve enough to be more contagious, cause more severe illness or evade the protection that vaccines provide. It’s not clear if the delta variant makes people sicker since more data needs to be collected.

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