PHOENIX — The fireworks and holiday celebrations may be over, but new Covid-19 cases are on the rise. In the past two weeks, Arizona has seen a 30% jump in daily cases across the state.
3 variants responsible for new cases in Arizona
“Over 80% of all cases we’re seeing are from three variants. They are more transmissible than what we were seeing last year at the height of the surges,” said Dr. David Engelthaler, the co-director and associate professor of the Pathogen Genomics Division at TGen North.
The three variants are the Alpha variant first seen in the UK, the Delta variant first seen in India and the Gamma variant first seen in Brazil.
Alpha variant continues to be the most dominant, but the Delta variant is now making up 15 to 20% of cases compared to 3% in May. The Gamma variant makes up more than 20% of new cases.
COVID-19 vaccine works against variants
The vaccine is proven to be effective against all of these variants.
“It is turning this virus really into the common cold if you get the vaccine,” Engelthaler said.
However, Engelthaler said it’s possible a new variant could compromise vaccines if the virus continues to mutate -- “survival of the fittest.”
“The best way to prevent getting the Delta variant or any type of COVID is to get vaccinated as quickly as possible,” said ADHS Director Dr. Cara Christ.
The state is closely watching the Delta variant and other cases and expects the number to keep rising. This is why people receiving the vaccine is vital to ending the pandemic.
If you choose not to be vaccinated
ADHS continues to recommend all Arizonans get vaccinated whether with the two-dose options of single-dose J&J vaccine. If you are not vaccinated, then keep wearing a mask and staying physically distanced from others.
What is ADHS doing to reach unvaccinated or vaccine-hesitant Arizonans?
ADHS is working with community partners and leaders to push community-based vaccination events, holding virtual town halls and building tool kits or educational kits for community providers.
Young people are not immune to the virus and should get vaccinated
Christ said the majority will be OK but it’s about our neighbors.
“It can impact completely healthy young people. Put them in the ICU. It can have long-lasting side effects,” said Christ. “COVID-19 has shown that’s it predictably unpredictable.”
Engelthaler said it’s important for the entire world to be vaccinated. The three variants impacting Arizona originated beyond our borders.
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