It’s hard to believe that COVID-19 has been a part of our lives for almost 18 months. But, as we continue to learn more about the virus, new questions emerge. Timothy Friel, MD, Chair, Department of Medicine, Infectious Diseases for Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) and Alex Benjamin, MD, Chief Infection Control Officer, LVHN, answer some of your top questions about COVID-19, the delta variant and COVID-19 vaccines in a recent COVID-19 Town Hall on Facebook.
How many people in Pennsylvania have received COVID-19 vaccines?
Benjamin says that Pennsylvania has one of the higher vaccination rates in the country with nearly 52 percent of the state’s population fully vaccinated.
How is the the delta variant different than other strains of COVID-19?
Friel describes the delta variant as a mutation of COVID-19 that first surfaced in India. It is now the dominant strain in many parts of the world, including the United States. This variant is up to 50 percent more contagious than the original strain of COVID-19 and poses a significant risk for those who are unvaccinated.
Are we seeing the delta variant in our area?
Friel says that the delta variant is now the predominant strain of COVID-19 and makes up over 80 percent of cases nationwide. He says that our area is no exception and we are seeing more cases of the delta variant in our region. Currently five percent of all COVID-19 cases in Pennsylvania are the delta strain, however, that number goes up each week.