DEEP DIVE INTO THE DELTA VARIANT
Central Florida Health News|September 2021
Lakeland Regional Health’s Dr. Haight Talks About the Latest Threat
TERESA SCHIFFER

With new cases of COVID-19 rising throughout Florida, if you have been hesitant to get vaccinated, this could be a good time to commit to that. New cases have spiked in the past month from about 23,000 new cases per week throughout Florida in the beginning of July to over 134,000 new cases by the end of that month, according to the Florida Department of Health. What’s fueling this surge? The primary factor is the Delta variant of the virus now circulating.

The National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Disease has reported to the CDC that the Delta variant of COVID-19 has been determined to be nearly twice as contagious as previous variants of the disease and is suspected to cause more severe illness among unvaccinated populations. This is the form of coronavirus currently most common in the United States. Although fully vaccinated individuals can still contract and spread this variant, they seem to be infectious for a shorter period of time than unvaccinated people.

Dr. Daniel Haight is a professor of Infectious Diseases at the University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine. For almost nine years, he has also served as the Vice President of Community Health at Lakeland Regional Health, as well as the Medical Director of Infectious Prevention there. He has been working with COVID-19 patients at both Lakeland Regional Health and Tampa General Hospital.

Haight attributes the current rise in diagnosed cases to the area’s low vaccination rates.

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