LEE COUNTY, Fla. — COVID-19 cases are on the rise in Florida, because of the Delta variant. Health experts say they see no signs of slowing any time soon. In fact, they say a new peak in cases is on the way.
300 patients are currently in Lee Health hospitals battling COVID 19. Thats a 70% jump in one week, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The recent spike in coronavirus cases in Lee County comes as no surprise to Dr. Jay Gupta.
“Given the global trend, and the trend in the U.S., it was kind of expected,” he said.
Gupta, the Director of Florida Gulf Coast University’s Public Health Program says the U.S.’s outbreak of the original COVID-19 virus or alpha, mirrored the the United Kingdom’s last year.
Since the U.K. saw the Delta variant as early as May, he says, it was only a matter of time before the variant reached the U.S. He explained the trends in the U.K.
“The cases [there were] peaking in the month of June, and it’s only in the recent week that they’ve seen the number of cases start to go down,” he said.
So, he says if America follows that model as it did early on in the pandemic, it’ll be a few more weeks until the U.S. sees a peak of Delta variant cases, and only after that a decline.
Gupta says the only way to make the numbers decline faster is by reaching herd immunity, or having 80-85 percent of people in the U.S. vaccinated. Right now 47 percent of eligible residents in Lee County are fully vaccinated. A little more than 50 percent of Americans are fully vaccinated.
“Once the stop the chain of transmission, the virus cannot mutate,” said Gupta.
Because of the increase in variant cases, Lee Health has restricted visitation to Convenient Care sites. Only people who are needed to provide information for a patient’s care will be admitted, or if there’s a special circumstance.
If you are allowed inside local hospitals, Lee Health says expect longer wait times.
Dr. Gupta added with school started within the next few weeks, there’s a possibility that that will also contribute to the looming peak in cases.