Where Are We Headed With the Delta Variant?
From one end of the country to the other the highly contagious Delta variant has caused over 90 percent of all COVID cases in the U.S. according to the Centers for Disease Control. Just three weeks ago the new variant was estimated to be only 18 percent of all COVID cases. With only 50 percent of the population vaccinated the very infectiousness of the Delta variant seems to be targeting the younger population and statistically the unvaccinated over age 45. And the variant is now making people sicker.
The good news is that severe disease and death are highly unlikely among the vaccinated, and vaccinations are starting to increase nationwide. West Virginia Governor Jim Justice has announced that schools will open as normal, and at this time there are no plans for school closures.
With some schools already open and others soon to be, the hope is all precautions are in place to provide a safe learning environment for the youngest to the oldest students. Along with regular classes many of the students also participate in extracurricular activities which bring them together in groups where they have personal contact with other students and teams. The hope is we can get through this without any interruptions to activity schedules and without any serious sickness among school children, teachers and administrators.
The Center for Disease Center predicts the virus to peak sometime in late August or mid-September with as many as 500,000 daily cases throughout the U.S. Given the number of people now receiving vaccinations many believe the numbers will be much lower. It’s estimated there will be about 1,000 deaths a day by mid-September and 76,000 additional deaths by November. However according to scientific research from the IHME, if 95 percent of the people in the United States wore masks, it could save as many as 49,000 of those lives.
Former CDC Director Tom Friden, president of the nonprofit “Resolve to Save Lives” , said in a tweet that unvaccinated Americans could make the U.S. surge “much deadlier.” CDC’s weekly report shows unvaccinated people account for nearly all hospitalizations from the Delta variant.
Getting back to a normal way of life will only happen if children and adults do the right things to protect themselves and others. Number one should be the vaccination, while continuing to wear masks and social distance until the country has enough immunity to win the battle. We have to look at what might happen this fall and winter, when people move indoors and back to school. As things are progressing now, there is every reason to believe infection rates will be worse in winter as opposed to summertime, which is the normal path we see with other respiratory viruses. While we are now dealing with the Delta we can also expect more variants to evolve.
Evidence is clear that vaccination is safe and effective, it is the clear path to normality. At the present time anyone 12 or older unvaccinated can receive the shots. It is expected that in the near future vaccinations will be approved by the FDA for 12 and under. Just last week booster shots for some were approved and booster shots for the general public could follow by years end.
We want to wish all local schools good luck in 2021-2022 both in the classroom and on the fields of play. Locally we have some of the states best facilities, and without a doubt educators. Wetzel County is under the leadership of a new Superintendent of schools which we hope everyone will get behind and support. Being in charge of four high schools and four elementary schools is not an easy job, however we believe Mrs. Tammy Wells is up to the task and with the help of the B.O.E. it should be a great year.
Tyler Consolidated has equally as good leadership with a veteran B.O.E. and second year superintendent Mr.Shane Highley. The county operates Tyler Consolidated high school and middle school along with two elementary schools. They have great facilities and a first class staff at all three. Throw your support around them as they give Tyler County something to remain proud of.