Rae Ellen Bichell / KHN
Dr. Rachel Lacount grabbed a metal hoop at the playground and rotated it in a circle with his seven-year-old son, turning the distant mesa of Colorado National Monument into a reddish blur.
LaCount has lived in Grand Junction, Colorado (64,000 cities) for almost a lifetime. As a hospital pathologist, she knows better than most that her hometown is one of the top breeding grounds for the delta variant of COVID-19 in the country.
“The delta variant is very scary,” Lacount said.
Its highly contagious variant, first detected in India, is now Dominant COVID-19 shares In the United States. Colorado is one of the top states According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the proportion of delta variants is highest.
State health officials report that Mesa County has the highest number of delta-type cases than any other Colorado county, making the area a hotspot within the hotspot. The CDC team and state epidemiologists visited Grand Junction to investigate how and why subspecies cases are moving so fast in Mesa County.
At her hospital, LaCount ordered a quicker COVID test as the case load increased. She saw the intensive care unit starting to fill up with COVID patients, so hospital staff have placed two people in the room, contrary to normal practice.
Despite these alarming signs, many in Mesa County appear to have been vigilant. The percentage of fully vaccinated eligible residents is stalled at about 42%. LaCount noticed that few people wear masks in grocery stores. Thousands of people have recently gathered at Mack, 32 km (20 miles) from Grand Junction. Country jam A music festival that has the potential to accelerate the spread of variant concert participants to their hometowns.
“We’re making national news for COVID variants, and the CDC is investigating here, but there’s a huge festival that people aren’t masking,” LaCount said. “Are you going to get herd immunity here just because everyone is trying to get it? That is, it will probably happen at some point, but how much will it cost?”
Rae Ellen Bichell / KHN
LaCount’s concern is not necessarily for herself or her spouse, but for her son, who is both vaccinated but unable to be vaccinated because he is under 12 years of age. variant. She hates taking him to a birthday party this summer, knowing that he’s likely to be teased by wearing a mask.
A man at the playground, a few yards away from Lacount and her son, was still fishing in the pond with his 10-month-old daughter in his backpack. Garrett Whiting, who works in the construction industry, said he believes COVID is still “disproportionately blown away,” especially by the news media.
“They scared everyone really, really fast,” Whiting said, slowly rolling up a sparkling blue lure from the water. “There is no reason to quit life just because something is scary.”
Whiting was COVID positive about 3 months ago. He said he had no plans to get vaccinated and his wife had no plans to get vaccinated. For babies on their backs, he said he wasn’t sure if he would be vaccinated when the regulator approved the infant’s injection.
Warnings from all over the world
Delta variant is one of four “Variant of concern“According to the CDC, the epidemic in the United States may be more resistant to treatment and better infecting vaccinated people than other variants due to the easy spread of delta strains. about it.
Delta variants are issuing warnings around the world.In parts of australia Lock down again Health officials say the variant is from an American aircraft crew Birthday party Infected place All unvaccinated guests, And after it was also reported to have jumped among shoppersHorrible fleeting“The moment the two pass each other at the mall.
Israel Reissue indoor mask requirements After a series of new incidents related to school children.top notch Health officials there said About one-third of the 125 infected people were vaccinated, and most of the new infections were of the delta type.
The increase in cases of delta variants delayed the scheduled reopening of the UK in June.But the public health authorities Conclusion After studying approximately 14,000 cases of delta mutants in the country, complete vaccination with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was found to be 96% effective for hospitalization.the study In the world I made a similar discovery. There is also evidence of Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines Effective against variant.
Los Angeles County Recently, concerned about delta mutations, we recommended that residents resume wearing masks indoors, regardless of vaccination status.World Health Organization Also urge The CDC has not changed its guidelines to allow vaccinated people to gather indoors without a mask, but vaccinated people wear masks.
Delta surge hits unvaccinated people
Jeff Kur, secretary general of the Mesa County Public Health Service, said the variant arrived in Mesa County this spring, accounting for only 1% of all cases nationwide.
Rae Ellen Bichell / KHN
“We were as debilitated as everyone else. We had less than five cases a day. I think about two people were hospitalized at a time,” Kuhr says. “I felt like I was outside the forest.”
He also signed off for a country jam, which he calls the state’s “biggest country music party.”
However, in early May, a delta variant appeared all at once, with five adults working in the school district.
“We started attacking children under the age of vaccination,” says Kuhr. “It was telling me that, as you know, wearing a mask at school did not provide protection with this new variant that it had before.”
Since then, the county has seen groundbreaking cases in elderly residents who have been fully vaccinated in long-term care facilities. The hospital started to fill up again. Nine vaccinated people have died, seven of whom have died since the arrival of the Delta mutant, but it is still unknown whether the mutant is the cause. All were over 75 years old and 7 lived in long-term care facilities. Currently, Kuhr estimates that “more than 90%” of cases in the county are delta variants.
The county sees the same trends as the state. The vast majority of people who test positive for COVID and those who are hospitalized for COVID are not vaccinated. “If any, it’s a superspreader stock,” said Eric Topol of the Scripps Research Institute. Told Scientific American.. But he said people who were completely vaccinated with Pfizer and Modana “shouldn’t be worried at all.” Little information is available about the protection provided by Johnson & Johnson vaccines.
Festivals at hotspots
Health officials in Mesa County have considered canceling the festival, but “it was really too late,” Kuhr says. About 23,000 people bought tickets after the announcement of the festival.
Authorities considered banning alcohol or giving participants a single-use Johnson & Johnson vaccine in the weeks leading up to the festival. In the end, they settled on the message: a sign that warns people online and at the venue that the area was a COVID hotspot.
According to CDC guidance, the risk of outdoor events was low. Kur was optimistic at the sporting event that filled the baseball stadium at Grand Junction at the end of May, with only one known case.
“We posted a message on the Country Jam website and then on our social media page,“ Mesa County is a hotspot. Get ready, ”says Kuhr.
Storm Friday weakened attendance at concerts at Country Jam. However, on the final day of the festival, the sun came out and a herd of concert attendees in cowboy boots roamed the prairie dog burrows, kicking up grayish yellow dust on the way to the venue entrance. ..
Many were pleased to be able to attend summer events such as outdoor festivals and thought it was another sign that the pandemic was weakening.
“COVID ended in Colorado,” said Durango college student Ryan Berkeley, who was beer pong in the inflatable pool of the campsite outside the gate.
That day, 39 people in the county were hospitalized with COVID, and the CDC research team arrived just four days ago.
The open field inside the gate was full of stages, shops, cowboy hats, coffee mugs, sellers of hunting clothes, and crowds. Chelsea Son Jeros and her 5-year-old daughter joined the scene.
“It’s great to see people’s faces again,” said Sungjaros, who lived in Grand Junction and had a previous COVID. She explained that it is one of the mildest illnesses she has ever experienced, even though her senses of taste and smell have not returned to normal. The watermelon tasted rotten to her, the beer tasted like Windex for a while, and her daughter said Sungjaeros could no longer smell certain flowers.
Sungjaros said he has postponed vaccination until further studies are published.
Alicia Knicks, who was waiting in line at the Daiquiri stand, was one of the few people wearing masks. “It’s over. Some people get over themselves and take it off,” said Knicks, who is vaccinated. “It’s not over yet”
In music, beer and dance, the bus that turned into a mobile vaccine clinic was empty. A nurse on duty played the Army National Guard and Jenga. Only 6 of the thousands attended were vaccinated by bus.
“You can lead the horse to the water, but you can’t feed it,” Knicks said from behind the blue surgical mask.
Delta Variant Hotspot?Participants at these Colorado Music Festivals don’t care: Shots
Source link Delta Variant Hotspot?Participants at these Colorado Music Festivals don’t care: Shots