Prisma Health on Wednesday held a virtual press conference discussing the COVID delta variant, its spread and impact on South Carolina, and the effectiveness of current vaccines against the strain.
Dr. Helmut Albrecht, an Infectious Disease Physician at Prisma Health, explained that the COVID delta variant is less of a new mutation and more of a combination of several others which makes it spread faster through communities and inside the body.
It is currently the dominant COVID strain in several states and countries and is on track to become the dominant strain in South Carolina over the next few weeks.
Dr. Albrecht also warned that those not fully vaccinated are at a greater risk from the delta variant compared to previous strains of the disease.
"Another new issue of delta is that it's very clear that one shot of the mrna vaccines, the Pfizer and the Moderna, is not enough, and we really didn't see that with other variants," Dr. Albrecht said. "Very large databases now show that protection against symptomatic disease, symptomatic infection, show an only 33 percent protection from one shot, but 88 percent if you've had both shots."
This press conference also comes after COVID cases have begun to significantly rise through the state over the past couple of weeks.
Dr. Albrecht explained that much of this increase is seen in local groups rather than an even increase throughout the state.
Cases are mostly rising in minorities, communities without good access to healthcare, and communities with a greater percentage of unvaccinated individuals.
You can listen to Dr. Albrecht’s full discussion of the Delta variant and the uptick in COVID cases in the state below: