ATLANTA — Fewer than 20 known cases of a COVID-19 variant first discovered in India have been detected across Georgia, a spokesperson for the Georgia Department of Public Health announced Wednesday.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Delta variant B.1.617.2 is classified as a variant of interest.
"It's more contagious, probably about 40-50% more likely to spread from one person to the next," Director of the National Institutes of Health Dr. Francis Collins said. "It particularly can affect younger people. And it looks like it also may be more dangerous when it comes to the severity of the disease."
The CDC monitors the sequenced variants circulating in the United States from a national level, not a state-level. The CDC also said, "to date, no variants of high consequence have been identified in the United States."
"I don't have an exact number for Delta in Georgia, but it's extremely low, fewer than 20, and I do not have county level date," Nancy Nydam with the Georgia Department of Public Health said.
According to the CDC, this particular variant of interest originated from India in December 2020. Dr. Collins said the Delta variant took over the United Kingdom and has now reached the United States.
"The good news is, and there is good news here, the Pfizer and Moderna are working, if you get both doses, you will be very well protected against Delta," Dr. Collins said.
Although there is limited evidence on how COVID-19 variants affect how vaccines work, the CDC continues to monitor the impact in real-world conditions.
"Vaccination is critical to stopping the spread of COVID and decreasing the number of variants that emerge," Nydam said. "People who are unvaccinated or skip their second dose of vaccine, are targets for infection."
With the new variants originating across the globe, it is important to know that very few COVID tests are actually checking for these new variants.
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