COMMENTARY: The Numbers Tell the Truth About the Delta Variant – Now What?

This is a photo of Roger Caldwell, an NNPA columnist and long-time contributor to the Advocate
Roger Caldwell is an NNPA Columnist and a long-time contributor to the Advocate

By Roger Caldwell

On July 27th, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released an updated guidance to Americans, which has been updated again on August 12th, 2021. Essentially the CDC is issuing new guidance every two weeks as they gather more knowledge about this highly contagious Delta variant of Covid-19.

First there is a reversal in the downward trajectory of cases with covid-19, with this new Delta variant being 2x as contagious as previous variants. “In the days leading up to our guidance update, CDC saw a rapid and alarming rise in the Covid-19 cases and hospitalization rates around the country,” explains the CDC scientist.

Secondly, there is new data that keeps mutating leading to increased transmissibility, when compared to other variants. Basically, the CDC must throw away some of the information that they learned from the other variant, and learn as much as they can about this new strain. Unvaccinated people remain the greatest concern, and some data suggest the Delta variant might cause more severe illness than previous strains in unvaccinated persons.

All around the country, hospitals are filled to capacity, and the system appears to be paralyzed. Things are getting worse, and the hospitals are in crisis. Many of the workers are saying that they have never seen the hospitals this bad, and filled to capacity in over 20 years.

Aaron Adams, president of St. Charles Bend and Redmond (Oregon), says “In the past few weeks, St. Charles has been forced to cancel many peoples’ much needed surgeries to make room for the seriously ill. Still the hospital is over capacity, inpatient beds are full, and as of Thursday, 17 people were boarding in the Emergency Department, which means they have been admitted to the hospital, but they are stuck to the ED while they wait for an inpatient bed to open up.”

This is happening all over the country, and it is time for the hospital leadership and workers to tell the truth. Most Americans don’t go to a hospital unless they are sick, or a family member is sick in the hospital. Not only are the hospitals filled to capacity, but the children hospitals, and wards are swamped with Covid-19 patients, and things are getting worse. Nearly 1,600 kids with Covid-19 were hospitalized last week, and this is a new seven-day record with a 27% increase from the week before.

“We’ve got problems pretty uniformly everywhere. Most of our children’s hospital intensive care units, if they’re not near capacity, they’re at capacity. We have kids in the emergency departments on gurneys,” says Mark Wietecha, CEO of the Children’s Hospital Association.

As the conditions continue to deteriorate across the country, many Republican governors and state officials have banned vaccine mandates, mask requirements, and other public health tools to fight the Delta variant. Since many of these policies make no sense, and the governors are sticking to their regulations, it is necessary for the federal government to force compliance to public health rules and policies.

In the next two weeks, it will probably be necessary for the country to shut down certain areas, starting with the schools, and business where there has been major outbreaks. Masks and social distancing should return, and a revival of many of the rules, policies, and guidelines from the first Covid-19. These mandates must come from the CDC and President Biden.

There is a crisis in America, with children, unvaccinated Americans, and vaccinated Americans at risk. As dire as the situation is now, hospital leaders and public health officials predict it will get worse.

Given what America knows about this Delta variant, it would be smart to shut down, and quarantine certain areas in the country to reduce transmission rates of the variant. There must be an action plan from the CDC and the president, and Americans must comply with the guidelines.