Thursday, July 1, 2021

Missouri Sees Huge Spike in COVID Variant D Infections - Numbers Surge


For you readers who don't know, I practice in Lee's Summit, Missouri which is a suburban area in the southeast corner of the Greater Kansas City area.  Because of my practice location, I was less than thrilled with the state when I started seeing headlines stating that Missouri is either leading or almost leading the United States in new COVID-19 infections.

It seems that the vaccination rate in the state of Missouri is very low.  Estimates are that 44% or residents have received one dose of the vaccine with 38% fully vaccinated.  However, in one county only 13% have received at least one dose.

Because of this low number of vaccinations, the Variant D strain appears to be running rampant.  I saw a recent article that stated 2 hospitals in Springfield, Mo had a combined 153 patients admitted when a few months ago that number was about 30.  

The Delta Variant (also known as Variant D) is highly infectious.  This is the strain that was first spotted in India not too long ago and has already spread rapidly.  

The good news is that individuals that have been fully vaccinated appear to also have immunity to the Delta Variant.  The bad news is that until more individuals are vaccinated, this variant has the potential to rapidly spread through susceptible populations.

I understand that some people have concerns about the vaccine.  They feel that it was rushed to market and could. potentially have unforeseen effects in the weeks and years to come.  I get that.  This also reminds me of a great book I read a few years ago called The Psychology of Fear.  In the book, the author discussed the 9/11 risk.  The year after 9/11, the number of air travelers decreased significantly.  It was based on the simple fact that many people feared being in the next wave of highjacking and losing their life in a plane crash.  Many people who had to travel, did so by car instead of flying.

The thing about this logic is that  statistically automobile travel is *much* more dangerous than flying.  Tens of thousands die every year on the highways, while an occasional plane crash might kill a few hundred.

The net result was that in the year after 9/11 automobile deaths skyrocketed as travelers that would have normally been flying were driving.  That means that many individuals who would have lived had they flown, died because they were driving.

What we are seeing in some areas with low vaccination rates are basically the same situation.  Individuals that have a fear of the vaccine actually end up catching the Delta Variant.  Of course, COVID-19 statistically is only fatal in about 2-3% of cases.  However, eve3n if you get only a mild case, you could easily infect someone who can't take the vaccine due to some health condition.  If that person succumbs to the virus, that's a horrible thing to be responsible for.  All things to think about...

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