Delta variant danger zones: The 20 most vulnerable counties in the U.S. right now

Counties in Georgia, Texas, Florida, and Missouri are especially vulnerable to the spread of COVID-19, according to a new report.

Delta variant danger zones: The 20 most vulnerable counties in the U.S. right now
[Photo: Brian McGowan/Unsplash]

The delta variant of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, is quickly spreading across the world. The World Health Organization estimates it will be the dominant strain globally within months, reports MarketWatch. In the United States, delta already is—and that’s a big problem, especially for the unvaccinated.


Full doses of the vaccines seem to offer robust protection against delta despite it being more transmissible than previous variants. This is one of the reasons U.S. officials have now warned the pandemic has shifted to become a “pandemic among the unvaccinated.”

So where is delta’s spread potentially the most hazardous in the United States? Where vaccination rates are low. And a new map and report out from Surgo Ventures, a nonprofit initiative aimed at finding solutions to social and health problems, reveals how counties across the U.S. fair.

The group has also assembled a list of the top 20 most vulnerable counties, which were revealed by correlating data between its COVID-19 Community Vulnerability Index and its COVID-19 Vaccine Coverage Index. Surgo says the 20 counties that are delta danger zones are:

  1. Charlton, Georgia
  2. Newton, Texas
  3. Pemiscot, Missouri
  4. McDonald, Missouri (tie with Grundy)
  5. Grundy, Tennessee (tie with McDonald)
  6. Ziebach, South Dakota
  7. Hempstead, Arkansas
  8. Ripley, Missouri
  9. Lanier, Georgia
  10. Motley, Texas
  11. Baker, Florida
  12. Telfair, Georgia
  13. Heard, Georgia
  14. Holmes, Florida
  15. Washington, Florida
  16. Carter, Missouri
  17. Jeff Davis, Georgia
  18. Texas, Missouri
  19. Treutlen, Georgia
  20. Bacon, Georgia

“We believe these 20 counties are delta danger zones, which means they represent the strongest convergence of COVID-19 vulnerability, underlying community barriers to vaccine uptake, and low vaccination rates of all counties in the United States at this point in time,” Surgo’s cofounder and CEO, Dr. Sema Sgaier, said.

In addition to the county data, Surgo has also released a detailed report exploring how counties can increase vaccine uptake—doing their part to help put an end to the pandemic once and for all.

[Surgo Ventures]