Delta variant confirmed in New Orleans; what you need to know about the extremely contagious disease

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NEW ORLEANS — A more contagious and potential deadly strain of coronavirus has made its way to New Orleans.

The Delta variant originates from India, and medical experts say it has the potential to affect anyone who isn’t vaccinated.

“Because we have a large number of people throughout the state who are unvaccinated, the expectation is that we’ll have areas, or pockets or regions, of just continued high infection with the Delta variant and that could potentially cause other variants to rise too,” said Dr. Nirav Patel, Chief Medical Officer at University Medical Center New Orleans.

One issue Louisiana is facing is that we have more vaccine supply than we do demand.

“We are concerned about the regional presence, particularly in the south, because of the low vaccination rates. So, expect for states like Arkansas, Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi to be hard hit with outbreaks as we continue throughout the year,” said Dr. Shantel Hebert-Magee, Region One Medical Director with Louisiana Department of Health.

Doctors say so far, at least two of the vaccines are clinically proven to protect against Delta and other variants.

“We know that Moderna and Pfizer are both 90% effective in preventing individuals who contract the Delta variant from being hospitalized and 94% effective in preventing severe illness in this particular population,” said Dr. Hebert-Magee.

Medical experts say the only way to prevent this strain of the virus from spreading is to get more of the population vaccinated, because if we don’t, we could go back to a world full of restrictions.

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