LUBBOCK, Texas — Cases of COVID-19 have been low in the Hub City for a few months now, but unfortunately, that doesn’t mean COVID-19 is gone. In fact, health experts around the country are now worried about a new variant of the virus called the Delta variant.
“It is the most infectious of the variants we have seen thus far,” said Chief Medical Officer at University Medical Center, Dr. Mike Ragain.
The Delta variant originated in India and is now spreading fast in the United States.
“The ones that are getting COVID-19 are getting that COVID Delta variant,” said medical expert, Dr. Sameer Islam.
Dr. Islam said 40 percent of those infected with COVID-19 in the U.S. have the Delta variant, and already seven cases have been identified in Lubbock.
“We know that here in Lubbock – here locally – those patients are typically taking longer to recover and they are in the hospital longer than it would be otherwise,” said Islam.
This variant particularly affects those who are unvaccinated. Currently only around 33 percent of Lubbock County is vaccinated leaving a majority of the population vulnerable to this new infection.
“What we do know is that symptoms are more severe there are more hospitalizations and the recovery tends to be a lot more difficult for those patients,” said Islam.
Medical experts concerned this could cause a new rise in cases, especially when we start seeing colder weather.
“That’s the worry — that we will see a rise of [new cases] and in the winter time, as we congregate more, [that] typically shows a rise of these infections so I think unvaccinated folks are going to be at risk as we move into the fall,” said Ragain.
The good news is COVID vaccines protect against this new strain, so doctors recommend those on the fence about getting the vaccine to take the leap.
“If you are vaccinated you are fine, if you are not vaccinated – this is the time to worry, and this is the time where you really should consider getting vaccinated to protect yourself and to prevent you from spreading this to someone you love,” said Islam.
Vaccines are available at local pharmacies, doctors offices, and appointments can be made with the Health Department.