MINNESOTA (WCCO) - The Delta variant is now the most common strain of COVID in the United States.
Some states, like Missouri, are seeing huge surges of the variant, which is overwhelming hospitals. However, Minnesota has curved the surge so far, but doctors warn we still need to stay cautious.
"In the last two weeks, [the United States] increased to 20,000 cases a day to over 40,000 cases a day and that's all due to the delta variant," said Dr. Frank Rhame, the lead infectious disease physician at Abbott Northwestern.
Dr. Rhame urged viewers to keep an eye on the new delta variant as this strain spreads quicker than former strains of COVID-19.
"This is much more transmissible," said Rhame, "that means places that are not adequately vaccinated are quite vulnerable."
Rhame said if you're not vaccinated, you're at risk of catching this variant, especially if you're out in public without a mask.
A map updated daily by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows the vaccination rates by state. The darker the shade of blue, the higher the states' vaccination rate.
Minnesota is medium to dark blue after hitting a 70% vaccination rate last week. Meanwhile, parts of the Midwest and Southeast have the lowest vaccination rates, and have some of the highest number of cases of the new strain.
"These surges are highly focused in the states that have low vaccination rates," said Rhame, "so clearly the vaccination [Minnesota has] done, which is not enough in my opinion, is plenty to cut the edge of it."
Only 5% of Minnesota's COVID cases are tied to the delta variant, but as Rhame explained, this strain spreads fast, which means all the progress we've made could change fast too.
"If we start getting surges in Minnesota, I'd start wearing masks indoors more often," said Rhame.
On Thursday, Pfizer announced it plans to file for emergency use authorization for a COVID booster shot, specifically to target the Delta variant.
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