As the Delta variant—the fourth in a series of recognized strains adapting at a dizzying pace from COVID-19—continues to ravage long-suffering India, it’s also making its presence known closer to home. Amid a recent rise in L.A. County’s seven-day test positivity rate, on Thursday, L.A. County saw the largest daily number of new COVID-19 cases since May 15. And recent analysis indicated that “nearly 48 percent of all samples sequenced were related to Delta,” according to Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer.
Ferrer referred to the numbers as a “warning” rather than cause for panic, but stressed that unvaccinated and partially vaccinated people are bearing the brunt of the continuing pandemic. Of the 123 people confirmed to have a Delta variant infection in L.A. County, 110 were unvaccinated and three were partially vaccinated.
The virulent Delta variant has been shown to be twice as contagious as the original virus that brought the world to heel, and is also 60 percent more transmissible indoors than Alpha, which has become the dominant strain in the United States. And though the Delta strain remains far from dominant stateside (amounting to only 6 percent of all cases), that’s likely to change.
At a press briefing on Thursday, Ferrer stressed, “This is a pandemic of unvaccinated people.” In L.A. County, 67 percent of adult residents have received at least one dose, and 58 percent are fully vaxxed, but vaccine demand has stalled and communities of color remain vulnerable.
As ominous as the rise in cases may seem, Ferrer assured that these blips aren’t necessarily indicative of another coming storm.
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