‘Like COVID-19 on steroids’: Delta variant found in 47 states including Florida

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — The coronavirus Delta variant has now reached 47 states including Florida, accounting for 10% of all new cases here in the U.S. In the last two weeks, cases of the delta variant have tripled in the U.S.

The Center for Disease Control’s director predicts the same pattern seen in the U.K., where the variant now accounts or 99% of cases.

Dr. Aftab Khan, a local internal medicine specialist, said the variant is like COVID-19 on steroids, and his patients are full of questions about the variant’s rapid spread among younger people.

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The CDC reports only 38% of Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 have received at least one shot.

Many of Khan’s older patients haven’t seen their out-of-state children and grandchildren in more than a year.

They’re anxious to have them visit and go to theme parks.

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“They can bring this virus to us, and they can bring this virus back to their states and cause another havoc in this country, so it is very concerning,” Khan said.

Health experts say it’s critical to get the second dose of the vaccine.

The CDC finds people with their first dose of the Pfizer vaccine are about 33% protected against the Delta variant.

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Given both doses, its effectiveness jumps from 78% to 88%.

Studies are similar for Moderna, while the one-shot Johnson & Johnson has been found to be 66% effective.

“Hospitalizations are down, deaths are down,” Khan said. “And now this is not the time to let our guards down.”

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The World Health Organization said more vaccinations are on the way to stay one step ahead of the virus.

Adam Poulisse, WFTV.com

Adam Poulisse joined WFTV in November 2019.