Health Team

'We're in trouble.' Health expert warns peak for Delta variant coming later this year

The number of breakthrough cases has more than doubled since Jan. 1, according to state data.

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Maggie Brown
, WRAL multiplatform producer & Mark Boyle, WRAL anchor/reporter

The number of breakthrough cases has more than doubled since Jan. 1, according to state data.

Nearly 16,000 COVID-19 cases were reported among those who have already got their shot since the beginning of 2021, which is less than 3% of all cases reported.

Ninety-two people who were already vaccinated have died from COVID-19 since the beginning of this year, state officials say, which is a little more than 1% of all reported coronavirus deaths.

"With COVID-19 and being a healthcare provider, there's a bit of embarrassment associated with being infected, but there shouldn't be," said Dr. Dan Barnes, who works at First Health of the Carolinas. "This is a highly contagious disease."

Barnes said he experienced shivering and sweats, and things got worse from there.

It kind of started off with a tickle in the back of the throat and then it was like a good case of the flu ... so pretty decent fever, muscle aches and headaches," he added.

Data shows that getting vaccinated decreases one's chance of contracting the virus and dying, local health officials say.

More than 88% of all coronavirus cases reported since May 6 have been among people who are not vaccinated.

"When infections do occur after vaccination, they are generally less severe than infections in people who are unvaccinated, with 89% of COVID-19-related deaths since May 6 occurring in people who were not fully vaccinated," according to a spokesperson with the state Department of Health and Human Services.

Infectious disease expert Dr. David Wohl said he believes the worst of the pandemic is still ahead.

"We're in trouble. We are going to have a very bumpy few weeks. Projection are that we are going to be peaking with Delta in October [and] November," said Wohl. "It's only going to get worse. We are backsliding. I have to be really honest, it does look like a lot of this is being driven b y the unvaccinated. That's just the reality."


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