As the Delta variant of COVID-19 comes to Florida, the fallout is costing lives
As Florida celebrated the month of July, complete with fireworks and BBQ celebrations, the SARS-CoV-2 virus was lurking in the shadows and waiting to pounce. And worse than the original strain of SARS-CoV-2 (COVID) that had reached American shores early last year, the new Delta strain is on the loose in Florida, a strain that's more contagious than the original.
As we're starting to get back to something that resembles real life, lurking in the backdrop is a fear that many of us share about the spread of the new Delta variant of COVID-19. And as of late June, the variant began making its way into Florida. By at least June 24th, reports WUSF, at least 10% of the cases in Florida were already the variant.
Cases have been on the rise throughout the South, an area that's been particularly hard hit by the new variant. Florida now makes up 40% of all new COVID cases in the U.S.
And now, an Orlando pastor has been sickened with the virus and is in a coma. Her family says she had an appointment to get the vaccine. Sheila J. Spencer is a pastor at the Time of Refreshing Christian Worship Center in Orlando, Florida, where she gives service and offers prayers to the sick and the dying. And now, she's the one in need of prayers.
Her sickness has upended the congregation, as family and friends fear for her condition. She's been hospitalized, put into a medically-induced coma, and put on a ventilator. How unbelievably tragic.
Her family now says "it's in God's hands now," as they wait and pray that she gets better. The local community and the congregation are praying alongside her.
The Orlando, Florida pastor has now been sick with the Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, for some time now. She's been described as a "stickler" for wearing masks and using hand sanitizer (note: hand sanitizer doesn't do anything to prevent the spread of SARS-CoV-2), but the poor woman still managed to catch the virus. This speaks volumes to the increased spreadability of the new Delta strain, a strain that's now the dominant strain in the United States. Experts believe that Delta is responsible for up to 75% of the cases in the US, at this point.
This also speaks to the fact that being diligent about masks and hand sanitizer may not be enough to stop the variant. As some have pointed out elsewhere, all it takes is a moment of mindlessness and a two-minute conversation and the virus can spread.
Experts say it's more than twice as contagious as the original strain of SARS-CoV-2. And as we all know, the strain was initially discovered in India where it ripped through that country, tearing the nation to shreds. Six thousand people died in a single day in India from the variant. And while regular COVID has a relatively low death rate, experts also believe the delta variant may be more deadly, with reports suggesting that up to a full 1/3rd of those who caught the virus variant in India ended up dying.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis weighed in on the spread of the variant in Florida saying:
“I think it gets put out there in ways designed to frighten people but the U.K. study I think pretty conclusively showed that this is an impact effective with vaccine…there is very good evidence that the vaccines have been proven to be effective.”
The governor then transitioned to telling Floridians to go get vaccinated, stating that we have a surplus of vaccines waiting for those who want them. He has reiterated time and again that the vaccines have been proven safe and effective against all the strains out there right now, especially when compared with COVID-19. Whatever side effects that might come from the vaccine would be infinitely better than catching COVID-19 proper, especially if we're talking about the delta variant, the logic goes.
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