NASHVILLE, Tenn (WTVF) — Even though the COVID-19 vaccine protects against the virus, doctors like Meharry Medical College President and CEO, James Hildreth says we're not quite out of the woods.
Viruses are constantly changing through mutation, and new variants of a virus are expected to occur. This is what's happening with COVID-19.
Multiple variants of the virus that causes COVID-19 have been documented in the United States and globally during this pandemic.
"We're concerned that the delta variant represents a potential setback in our efforts to get the pandemic behind us," said Hildreth.
Delta is the fourth variant or strain of COVID-19.
"The urgency of getting people vaccinated, is the highest it's ever been in my opinion. We just need to get it done," said Hildreth.
The CDC says these variants seem to spread more easily and quickly than the others; which may lead to more cases of COVID-19.
The Delta variant has been detected all 50 states. It also comprises 95% of all new cases in the United Kingdom, according to Public Health England. It's also prompting new lockdowns in Asia and Australia.
"About one in five infections now are, are taking place by the Delta barrier, "said Hildreth "and there's every evidence that by the end of the summer the Delta bearing will be dominant in the United States."
Hildreth says in order to fight this, more people need to be vaccinated. "It's 60% more transmissible than the previous variant, which was 60% more transmissible than the original strains."
Hildreth says the vaccines are effective against this variant. He says he also believes getting a booster shot after the Johnson and Johnson vaccine may not be a bad idea.
"The large number of people who are not vaccinated, coupled with a more transmissible virus, and there's even some evidence as far so make people sicker than the original strains, we have the makings of a really bad situation."
Hildreth is encouraging everyone to continue to mask up and space out.