Delta variant

Epidemiologist Says Vaccine, Behavior Still North Texans' Best Defense Against Delta Variant

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As of Monday, there were more than 10,000 COVID-19 patients in Texas hospitals. That’s the most since early February.

Data from UT Southwestern Medical Center shows hospitalizations in the Dallas-Fort Worth region have increased by 97% in the past two weeks.

Right now, the state is reporting roughly 54% of eligible Texans are fully vaccinated.

Epidemiologist Diana Cervantes said even as the cases of COVID-19 surge across the state, those who've had the vaccine should feel reassured.

“It's preventing those hospitalizations. It's preventing those severe illnesses. And it's preventing death,” she said.

Cervantes said science shows the delta variant, now the most dominant strain, is resilient. She said that just means we must be more proactive and remember masking, vaccinations and social distancing still work.

“The reason why we are seeing so many cases is really not as much having to do with the variant as it has to do with just general behavior,” said Cervantes. “It really has more to do with us being out and having close contact with people and being in more confined spaces with people.”

Data from the Texas Department of Health and Human Services shows Dallas County has the second-highest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases, with Tarrant County in third. Harris County has the most confirmed cases.

Cervantes is also concerned about the rising number of cases among children but believes help is on the way. As of Monday, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins reported just two pediatric ICU beds available for the 19-county region.

“The expectation is that the vaccine is going to be approved in very early September for children that are 11 down to 5 or 6-years of age and that Pfizer will get the full authorization. I think that's really going to make a huge impact on the number of cases.”

As of now, the vaccines are not available for anyone under the age of 12. Since the pandemic began, about 7% of Texas COVID-19 cases have been reported in people 19 or younger.

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