ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Information about COVID-19 keeps evolving. The virus itself has the potential to change every time it spreads to another person. Epidemiologists say the Delta variant is 200 percent more transmissible. It’s the dominant one circulating, and that's why we're seeing a surge in cases.
Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Ann MacIntyre shared this insight that the faster we get anyone who's eligible vaccinated, the faster we can curtail new variants from developing or taking a foothold. Those who have been holding off are especially at risk right now.
“I think many individuals adopted a wait-and-see attitude if they were in a younger age group, otherwise healthy believing appropriately back many, many months ago that they would likely not be as severely impacted. That perhaps they don’t need the vaccine. That if they did get the disease, they would be asymptomatic and move on. But unfortunately, we are seeing evidence that even in those individuals that were initially asymptomatic they’re encountering some long-term repercussions that are associated with having had natural disease,” Dr. MacIntyre said.
She's a member of the Board of Directors of the Infectious Diseases Society of America and recommends talking with your doctor to see if you’re eligible and consider information that’s based on science to make an informed decision. It’s normal to have questions. She says a good resource about vaccines is GetVaccineAnswers.org.
She says she hopes that people understand the power of the decision to get vaccinated.
“When I personally got the vaccine, I was impressed with the peace of mind that I had all of the sudden. That I was doing everything I could to protect myself, protect the elderly in my family, protect the kids in my family that couldn’t get vaccinated and also protect patients I treat. And also get back to moving about freely,” Dr. MacIntyre said.
If you’re curious how widely the virus is circulating in your community, you can check what’s happening with the CDC’s COVID Data Tracker. While the state's health department no longer gives a daily report on how we're doing, you can see what's happening in all Florida counties on the CDC's website.
If you click on state, choose Florida, then you select which county you want to look at. Most Florida counties are in red on the map and indicated a high rate of transmission of the virus. Looking at Hillsborough as an example, the case numbers increased 126 percent over the last seven days, and there's been a 6 percent increase in positivity.
There’s a YouTube tutorial if you need a little extra help understanding the tools available.
Here's where you can get a vaccine in Florida.
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