A vaccination record card and face mask on a table.

July 21, 2021

The fast-spreading coronavirus Delta variant isn’t messing around. Nor should you.

With new cases surging nearly 70% in a single week due to Delta, now is the time to get vaccinated against COVID-19 if you haven’t already, reports the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Though it just arrived in March, Delta quickly moved weaker strains to the side.

Like its predecessors, the variant is due to tiny alterations to genetic code. Such changes are a constant for viruses, including the coronavirus and even flu.

But this aberration is “the fastest and fittest,” says the World Health Organization.

That has enabled it to become a super-spreader among the unvaccinated—and not just those who’ve stood shoulder-to-shoulder in crowds.

Without the safety of vaccines, those who faithfully have kept social distance, washed hands frequently and worn masks indoors still are at risk.

That’s not to say such measures aren’t protective. They are, experts say. But they work even more effectively when partnered with vaccines.

"This is becoming a pandemic of the unvaccinated," said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky at a recent press conference. "If you remain unvaccinated, you are at risk."

Here are eight reasons to get inoculated as soon as possible.

ONE. This coronavirus version is the most contagious yet.

In this past week alone, hospitalizations are up nearly 36% in the United States, reports the CDC.

The latest coronavirus villain has shown itself to be the speediest, craftiest and most virulent—on so many levels.

Studies show Delta is about 225% more transmissible than prior strains. Research in China found that Delta multiplies shockingly fast, churning out 1,000 times more copies in the respiratory tract of the infected.

That’s highly relevant because SARS-CoV-2 spreads through airborne droplets invisible to the eye.

Since Delta is more transmissible, those who are infected have more virus, which multiplies the disease’s intensity.

TWO. These numbers don’t lie.

Of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths, 99.5% of victims are unvaccinated, say U.S. officials.

Consistently, cases are far worse in counties and states with lower vaccination rates.

Hardest struck states, including Mississippi and Arkansas, have less than a third of their residents vaccinated. And four of five areas with twice the national Delta infection rates have fewer than 40% vaccinated.

With just 37% having at least one shot, Mississippi ranks last in the country. And it shows: More than 1,600 new cases of the Delta variant occurred there this past weekend alone, reports Thomas Dobbs, MD, a state health officer in Jackson, Miss.

But numbers are up in every state, so any victory celebrations for conquering COVID-19 were premature.

THREE. Children are not immune to serious disease.

Kids—especially young ones—are vulnerable.

In Mississippi alone, seven unvaccinated children are fighting for their lives in ICUs. Two of them are on ventilators, Dobbs says.

While those ages 12 and under aren’t eligible yet for shots, you and your teens can get vaccinated and be less likely to pass it on to them.

Previously, COVID-19 tended to affect largely those over age 50. Now, children and adults under 50 are 2.5 times more likely to become infected with Delta, report British researchers.

FOUR. If you don’t trust scientists, listen to people who’ve lost family members to the disease.

Testimony posted on social media and reported on the news is heart-breaking: Mourners say “if only.” If only they’d taken their loved one to be vaccinated. If only their elderly relatives had heeded warnings.

FIVE. Vaccines cost nothing.

The COVID-19 vaccine is free and mounting hospital bills for weeks of ICU care can be huge and overwhelming.

SIX. Areas worldwide with low vaccination rates have become hotbeds of Delta.

The countries with the lowest vaccination rates are where Delta has dominated, including Indonesia and a large swath of Africa, where only 1% are fully vaccinated.

SEVEN. If you’re eager to travel internationally, you might not be able to go.

The CDC recommends not travelling internationally until fully vaccinated.

EIGHT It’s so easy to save your family’s lives.

It is easy to make a vaccine appointment at your convenience at a Memorial Hermann location or walk-in clinic. Learn more about the COVID-19 vaccine »

The information in this article was clinically reviewed by Dr. Linda Yancey and is accurate as of July 21, 2021.

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