Watch CBS News

Colorado Officials Raise Concerns About COVID Delta Variant As Virus Proves To Be More Transmissible Between Unvaccinated People

DENVER (CBS4)- There's a reason you have to get a flu shot every year. It's because influenza is a virus and viruses have a tendency to change over time. COVID-19 is also a virus and since it became part of our world in 2020, it, too, has changed, similar to the flu virus.

VACCINE EXCITEMENT 5PKG.transfer_frame_1224
(credit: CBS)

"It has a number of mutations that are a little bit different," said Dr. Rachel Herlihy, Colorado's State Epidemiologist.

One of those is the Alpha Variant more commonly known as the UK variant. Now we're also seeing the Delta Variant which first popped up in India and has spread around the world. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is concerned. The main reason, it is more transmissible between unvaccinated people.

"Meaning that it's spread more easily from person to person," said Herlihy.

Also concerning: early data seems to indicate vaccine efficacy seems slightly lower with the Delta Variant.

Mobile COVID-19 Vaccine Site In Pennsylvania
Blandon, PA - April 14: A stack of COVID-19 Vaccination Record Cards from the CDC. At the Giorgio Companies site in Blandon, PA where the CATE Mobile Vaccination Unit was onsite to administer Moderna COVID-19 Vaccines to workers Wednesday morning April 14, 2021. The effort was a collaboration between the Latino Connection, the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Highmark Blue Shield, and the Independence Blue Cross Foundation. (Photo by Ben Hasty/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images)

"We're seeing that around 88% so not a huge difference, but a little bit of a difference," said Herlihy.

This variant is already spreading throughout Colorado, but especially in Mesa County where they have what CDPHE considers an outbreak.

Herlihy said there's a simple explanation, "There's probably one big underlying reason for why we are seeing transmission in Mesa County and why other counties in Colorado might be at risk, and that is we know that the vaccination rates in Mesa County are lower than they are in certain parts of the state."

If you want to be protected from any variant of COVID-19 you can practice social distancing, masking and washing hands. If you really want to be safe, you should get vaccinated.

VACCINE HESITANCY 10 PKG.transfer_frame_1260
(credit: CBS)

"That's really going to be the best way to stop this variant like all variants of COVID-19," said Herlihy.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.