LSU Health's Dr. John Vanchiere talks about the medical community's growing concern over the new COVID Delta variant.

Cases across the state, particularly in Shreveport and Minden, are on the rise, as officials are warning that parts of the state could see a spike in cases, similar to what is happening in other states.

Here's what Vanchiere told KEEL about the latest outbreak:

"This Delta variant is more easily transmitted, significantly more than the Alpha variant, the one from the UK and more than the...original virus that circulated, says Vanchiere, "We're concerned that we're seeing more transmittability, we're concerned that we may see increasing pathogens that could make people sicker."

Then, Vanchiere contradicts some reports that the newest variant has symptoms that are less severe. "No, it's not any less severe," he says, "What we're seeing is increased hospitalizations, mostly among people who aren't vaccinated. And we see what are called 'breakthrough infections,' that is, people who are vaccinated getting sick with the Delta variant."

"We've gone from a hundred cases a day to over twelve hundred cases a day," he says, addressing the increase across the state, "We're seeing a lot more infections now, locally as well as statewide. It's a big surge in infections.

"I think the most important things right now is that people who are not vaccinated should get vaccinated. That's the best protection against severe disease. Only one out of three people in our area is vaccinated. That's part of the reason this surge is happening. The faster we vaccinate, the faster we can keep variants from emerging."

Then Vanchiere makes his most chilling statement, saying that the pandemic may be only half over. "It's probably so," he says, "This is exactly what we talked about six months ago. We've got to get vaccinated to prevent this lingering thing, this death-by-a-thousand-cuts situation. Variants are going to continue to emerge as long as people are not vaccinated."

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READ ON: See the States Where People Live the Longest

Stacker used data from the 2020 County Health Rankings to rank every state's average life expectancy from lowest to highest. The 2020 County Health Rankings values were calculated using mortality counts from the 2016-2018 National Center for Health Statistics. The U.S. Census 2019 American Community Survey and America's Health Rankings Senior Report 2019 data were also used to provide demographics on the senior population of each state and the state's rank on senior health care, respectively.

Read on to learn the average life expectancy in each state.

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