By Cash Michaels –
If you feel as if you’re getting whiplash from all of the confusing advisories and directives concerning Covid-19, and especially the now-dominant Delta variant, you’re not alone.
But one fact remains clear: if you or yours remain unvaccinated against the coronavirus in any form, the risk, doctors and health officials say, could be a dire one.
“Things are going to get worse,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, White House Chief Medical Advisor, told ABC News Sunday. Especially for African Americans.
Profound lack of trust of the government, of the medical profession, of the extremely fast vaccine development period, and waiting to see the effects of the vaccines on others are the main reasons many Blacks are hesitant to allow vital needles in their arms to stem the virus.
Latest Outbreak Hits Blacks Hardest
But after months of decline, the number of Covid-19 cases has dramatically increased in the past several weeks as a result of the hyper-contagious Delta variant, and states across the country, including North Carolina, are scrambling to deal with the burgeoning outbreak. Indeed, 83% of new Covid-19 cases are directly connected to the Delta variant, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). And of those cases, nearly 100% of those hospitalized are unvaccinated.
As of August 2, according to the CDC, Whites (non-Hispanic) outpace other ethnic groups by 50%, while non-Hispanic Blacks represent 11.4% of national Covid-19 cases.
And while over 58% of deaths are among Whites, Blacks currently comprise more than 13% of Covid-19 deaths—nearly 20% higher than their rate of new cases.
Delta Variant Spreads Quickly, Brings Long-Term Problems
Evidence shows that the Delta variant can spread from human to human more quickly, and that it incubates much faster than its predecessor. So it won’t take you two weeks to determine if you’ve been infected. In most cases, researchers say, it will take just four days.
And throw out any notions about the Delta variant being no more dangerous that the common cold or influenza, health experts say. While much more is still being determined because of the short period of time the world has been dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, mounting evidence shows that beyond the initial illness—which, depending on one’s risk factor (age, general health, race/ethnicity, economic status) can range from severe respiratory illness to death—additional neurological problems can result as patients get older.
Evidence is also mounting that those who are vaccinated can be carriers of the Delta variant, and in some cases, can get sick from it, though not enough to require hospitalization, doctors say. But even those who carry the variant can infect others who are more vulnerable, such as the immunocompromised, people with underlying medical conditions, and those undergoing chemotherapy. So getting either the two-shot Moderna or Pfizer vaccine is important protection, to limit both the severity and the spread of the Delta variant infection.
State Vaccination Facts
Here in North Carolina, the counties with the highest vaccination rates are Orange, Wake, and Durham; the lowest rates are in Harnett and Hoke counties. Since Friday, August 6, over 8,600 more North Carolinians have tested positive for Covid-19, with more than 1,359 hospitalized.
In the face of this fourth surge, mask mandates are back in effect for many local and state government buildings. Governor Roy Cooper now requires vaccination verification for all state employees.
Protection v. Partisan Obstinacy
That’s in line with current CDC guidance to help restrict and curtail the spread of the more contagious Delta variant: to wear face masks in public, especially indoors. That guidance—aimed at both the vaccinated and the unvaccinated—is especially true for children returning to in-person classrooms this fall.
Yet in a recent fundraising letter to constituents, despite all the evidence and devastation to NC families, NC Senate President pro-tem Phil Berger, a Republican, called the CDC guidance on wearing masks indoors “guidance to ignore.”
According to all scientific research, knowledge, and evidence, protecting the health of North Carolinians makes State Senator Berger the one to ignore. Our health and the health of our loved ones demands that we all get vaccinated.
Symptoms of Covid-19
If you’re unvaccinated, regardless of whether you contract the original strain of Covid-19 or its Delta variant, here’s what to look for in terms of symptoms, according to the CDC, that separate these viruses from a common summer cold:
- High fever or chills
- Severe shortness of breath
- Pronounced fatigue
- Strong muscle or body aches
- Constant headaches
- Noticeable loss of taste or smell
- Bad sore throat
- Nose congestion
- Nausea or vomiting
- Constant diarrhea