The highly transmissible Delta variant is now the dominant strain of COVID-19 in Iowa, according to the Iowa Department of Public Health.
In the past two weeks, the variant was responsible for more than half of the positive COVID-19 tests that included variants. To measure the presence of variants, the State Hygenics Lab randomly selects a sample of positive results and runs a full sequencing on the samples. That’s where the variation shows up.
Delta has also become the dominant strain in states like California and Missouri and is expected to become the dominant strain in Illinois in a few months.
Though the CDC doesn’t list Iowa’s outbreak, Iowa’s HHS region, which includes Missouri, Kansas and Nebraska, has the biggest proportion of Delta variant appearances.
Experts have warned the delta strain will become the dominant strain in the whole United States.
So far all of the vaccines have proved effective against from the Delta variant. For example, while Pfzier is 90 percent effective for the original Alpha strain, it maintains 88 percent effectiveness against symptomatic Delta, with 96 percent effectiveness for preventing hospitalization.
More important when it comes to variants, the vaccines reduce the transmission of the virus, which reduces the number of opportunities a virus has to mutate into new, deadlier variants.
Only about 46 percent of Iowa’s population is fully vaccinated, according to the most recent information available on the state’s COVID-19 dashboard.
Most of the deaths and hospitalizations attributed to Delta have been in those who are unvaccinated. As the variant spreads in Iowa, the other 54 percent of Iowa’s population will experience that risk.
The state health department spokesperson, Sarah Ekstrand, told the Des Moines Register, “Iowans should assume it’s circulating in their community.”
by Nikoel Hytrek