CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Researchers at MUSC report that the Delta variant was detected in 100% of recently sequenced COVID-19 samples.
The prominence of the Delta variant is concerning for healthcare workers, as it indicates a high rate of disease spread. Associate professor, Dr. Julie Hirschhorn, explained:
“If you think about virus transmissibility, when we had the original version of the virus, every infected person would infect on average one or two people. And then with the Alpha variant we first saw in the U.K., every person infected would transmit it, on average, to four people. And then with Delta, it transmits on average to seven or eight people.”
Hirschhorn says that while the current COVID-19 surge in South Carolina may be nearing an end, what comes after could be problematic as well. She explained that “before Delta hit, we had gotten down to only 1% [positivity].” Now, her “biggest concern is that steady state level of COVID might get stuck at like 5% or 7% or even 10% positivity.”
If that happens, she worries that “the next wave could result in even higher positivity rates.”
Hirschhorn and her lab have teamed up with the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) to help educate people about how to end the COVID-19 pandemic.