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COVID-19 Delta Variant Cases Confirmed In San Diego County

Inside a COVID-19 intensive care unit at LAC-USC Medical Center.
Courtesy of Nick Kraus/FRONTLINE (PBS)
Inside a COVID-19 intensive care unit at LAC-USC Medical Center.

The coronavirus delta variant, which swept through India and is now the dominant strain in the United Kingdom, is rapidly spreading through the U.S.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, says the delta variant will become the dominant strain in the regions where vaccination rates are low.

COVID-19 Delta Variant Cases Confirmed In San Diego County
Listen to this story by Alexandra Rangel.

About 20% of the strains in the U.S. are the delta variant, that’s a 10% increase from two weeks ago according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

RELATED: Fauci Warns Dangerous Delta Variant Is The Greatest Threat To U.S. COVID Efforts

At least 16 cases of this variant have been confirmed in San Diego County.

Even though nearly 50% of Americans are inoculated, Dr. Abisola Olulade at Sharp Rees-Stealy said the variant is still a concern.

“We just don't know how it is going to behave. There is some data out of Israel that it does cause higher rates of infection even on people that have already been vaccinated,” Olulade said.

And unvaccinated people run a higher risk.

“So if you haven't gotten a vaccine, you need to get one now. This virus is very much a threat to you. After the first dose of vaccination there is only a 33% protection from the Pfizer vaccine which is very concerning. And there is evidence that this virus is much more of a threat potentially and possibly the most contagious variant we've seen so far,” Olulade said.

Olulade says there is no evidence that the virus is more deadly, this could be that doctors are getting better at treating the virus.

Another concern is that the delta variant has a new mutation called delta plus.

“The virus is going to continue to mutate and change and it’s doing it very efficiently and rapidly, which is very concerning and that beta variant has been found to be the cause of more infections in the Seychelles, which has been the highest most vaccinated nation,” Olulade said.

As doctors and scientists prepare for the impact the delta variant may cause, Olulade says the best option for people is to protect themselves with the vaccine.

Video: Fauci Warns Dangerous Delta Variant Is The Greatest Threat To U.S. COVID Efforts