By Julia Ordaz
People with the COVID-19 vaccine have a greatly reduced hospitalization rate compared to those without both doses of the vaccine. Vaccines have shown effectiveness against the Delta Variant, and although they are not fully preventative, 97% of all people hospitalized in the United States with COVID-19, are people without a vaccination. The CDC states that this variant is 2x more contagious than previous variants, and it’s taking out large numbers at alarming rates. This strain has not been proven to be stronger than the previous Alpha Variant, but its increased spread-ability makes it all the more dangerous.
For children, the Delta Variant poses a major threat, and as of now, no vaccines have been approved for children years 11 and under. The number of cases for minors has gone drastically up since the release of this variant, and according to the Department of Health and Human Services, hospitalizations for these minors is currently at its highest. The American Academy of Pediatrics, and the Children’s Hospital Association have confirmed that children’s cases have increased by four-fold since July 2021, making the total number of children’s cases 180,000, within the week of August 12 – August 19.
Across the globe, the countries hit hardest by this variant are the ones who aren’t receiving enough vaccines, and promises from richer countries have not proven to be enough to slow the spread of this virus. Worldwide, 80% of all doses administered have been to upper and middle class countries. The Delta Variant has proven more deadly to lower income countries than the original strain was. Fatima Hassan, from the Health Justice Initiative in South Africa claims, “…we still don’t have enough vaccine supplies in the system despite the global realization that the Delta Variant is so devastating.” With just 21% of its population vaccinated, Malaysia is seeing new record highs of cases and deaths, with 70% of all those infected coming from the Delta Variant. A country with one of the lowest vaccination rates is Vietnam, with just 0.68% of all inhabitants having gotten both doses. Vietnam has seen COVID-19 cases increase by 85% in just a month.
With the discovery of new Delta cases, Queensland Australia has gone into a three day lockdown with strict restrictions that will not be lifted until August 28, or later. But for lower income countries with already skyrocketing numbers, lockdowns and restrictions have not been enough to ease the spread of this variant, and vaccines may be the only way to effectively slow the incoming wave of deaths. With increasing numbers, hospitals worldwide are having a shortage of beds and ventilators, and are struggling to treat the surge of patients. Dr. Anthony Fauci- the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases predicts, “Things are going to get worse.”