Earlier this month, the delta variant of Sars-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, became dominant in the United States with just over 50% of all new COVID-19 cases being caused by it. Now the latest data shows that a full 83% of new cases are from the delta variant, reports NBC News.
This is cause for concern as the delta variant is much more transmissible than previous variants. More transmissibility means more chances for mutations, which could potentially become vaccine resistant. The good news is, those who are fully vaccinated are relatively well protected from delta. They may still catch delta, but most will experience fewer symptoms with less severity. The bad news? Delta is wreaking havoc among communities where vaccination rates are low.
If you’re wondering which communities those are, the CDC has released a new tool that maps vaccination rates together with what it calls the Social Vulnerability Index (SVI). The SVI uses data on housing, poverty, and transportation to assess at-risk communities vulnerable to disease outbreaks.
Counties with higher vaccination rates and lower social vulnerability scores (blue on the map) are in relatively good shape compared to counties with low vaccination rates and higher social vulnerability scores (red on the map). Red counties have more cause to worry about delta’s impact on the local community.
States with counties that have low vaccination rates and higher social vulnerability scores include Alabama, Arkansas, and Georgia. The CDC’s map is interactive, so as you move your cursor over your county you’ll be able to see its exact SVI scores and vaccination rate.
As for what you can do to help improve things: get fully vaccinated, keep wearing masks even if they are optional, and speak with your vaccine-hesitant friends and family members to discuss their apprehension about getting vaccinated.