Dr. Martha Whyte from the Office of Public Health talks about the rapidly spreading COVID Delta variant, who's the most susceptible and are you protected if you're already vaccinated.

The Delta variant surge in the state has undone months of progress in the battle against the virus. Louisiana is now seeing about 1,5000 new cases a day and hospitalizations are at the highest levels since last spring. Physicians across the state say the vast majority of those affected by the mutation are unvaccinated.

Here's what Dr. Whyte told KEEL News Monday morning:

"This variant is, by far, the predominant strain that we're seeing in Louisiana. It more contagious. It is making people sicker," says Whyte, "We want to make sure that people get vaccinated, that people take care of themselves, protect themselves and get tested if they don't feel well."

Dr. Catherine O'Neal at New Orleans LSU Health says that healthcare workers are seeing a concerning trend when it comes to children. and that the Delta variant is causing increased hospitalizations in those under 18.

Meanwhile, Whyte emphasizes that many who had COVID in the past year may not be immune to the new strain. "If you were exposed and how many antibodies your body made, it's going to help you somewhat, but this is a different strain, so it's not going to completely protect you from the Delta variant.

"The vaccine has, so far, protected us from the Delta variant, so it is important to get vaccinated. The issue is (already) having COVID and thinking that's going to protect you. And we know that those antibodies only last from four to nine months."

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While much is still unknown about the coronavirus and the future, what is known is that the currently available vaccines have gone through all three trial phases and are safe and effective. It will be necessary for as many Americans as possible to be vaccinated in order to finally return to some level of pre-pandemic normalcy, and hopefully these 30 answers provided here will help readers get vaccinated as soon they are able.

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