Delta variant quickly spreading; Delaware Valley sees increase in COVID-19 cases

The more contagious Delta variant now makes up 83% of cases in the United States.

Annie McCormick Image
Tuesday, July 20, 2021
Delta variant quickly spreading across Delaware Valley
The more contagious Delta variant now makes up 83% of COVID-19 cases in the United States.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- New numbers are shedding light on just how quickly the Delta variant of COVID-19 is spreading in the United States.

The more contagious Delta variant now makes up 83% of sequenced samples in the United States, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said Tuesday. Just two weeks ago, that number was 50%.

Health officials continue to stress that vaccines are the most powerful tool to fight the virus.

In Philadelphia, "Philly Counts," the community engagement unit under the managing director's office, began outreach months ago.

RELATED: Highly contagious Delta variant now makes up 83% of US COVID cases, CDC says

On Tuesday, they were working the phones. They also partner with community organizations and churches to hit areas where the vaccination rate is low.

"We go to high priority communities and go door-to-door with information about where to get a vaccination. When people see familiar faces, they are more inclined to open up their doors," said Hassan Freeman, who spearheads community outreach for Philly Counts.

The Delta variant is now dominant in New Jersey and Delaware, according to data from the state departments of health.

Based on national and regional estimates from the CDC, the Delta variant is likely dominant in Pennsylvania too, but the Pennsylvania Department of Health has not confirmed that yet.

RELATED: Health officials in tri-state area warn about Delta variant as cases begin to rise

Dr. John Zurlo, the chair of Jefferson Health's COVID task force said the vast majority of people hospitalized and sick with COVID-19 are unvaccinated.

"Our best advice is even if it's been a few months and you only had one dose, get a second dose. It's likely to be much more effective when other people get it," said Zurlo.

The rise in cases has not triggered an increase in testing sites in our region.

Many either closed or reduced hours because the demand was low, but Zurlo said that could change depending on the rise in cases.

"I think if we see cases rise, then we here at Jefferson as well as the city could and should increase the availability of testing," he said.