Just as the states across the country started to relax mask mandates and other COVID-19 restrictions, the Delta variant, a highly contagious strain of the coronavirus, began to spread like wildfire causing an alarming increase in new coronavirus cases. (Photo courtesy of unsplash)

By Joshua Moore
Special to the AFRO

The new strain of the novel coronavirus known as the Delta variant, has run rampant across the United States causing a surge of new cases. In Maryland, the Delta variant cases have skyrocketed across the state, specifically among unvaccinated residents including children under 12. 

According to the Baltimore City Health Department, cases are up 26% and the positivity rate is 28% in the city. 

There seems to be two main causes of the rise in the new variant cases. The first being that a lot of people are still unvaccinated. The COVID data tracker shows that 58% of Marylanders are vaccinated, leaving 42% of people vulnerable to the new strain. 

This new variant is also dangerously more potent. Researchers indicate that it is the most transmissible variant of all and is a lot more contagious than the initial strain of COVID-19. 

Darlene Moore, 56, is a Baltimore resident who works as a benefit authorizer. She has been skeptical of the coronavirus since its initial outbreak. She said that the information presented has always been confusing, to say the least. 

“If you’re washing your hands and getting vaccinated, and that’s what they’re telling you to keep it (cases) down; I just can’t comprehend how it’s still spreading,” Moore explained. 

The Delta variant seems to put unvaccinated individuals at risk. Medical experts are adamant urging people to take the shot in order to lessen the chances of becoming infected. 

“I didn’t get the vaccine because of the back and forth. At first they were telling everyone to wear a mask, now they say you don’t have to wear it,” Moore said. Now, Moore said that she is leaning toward getting the vaccine due to the growing risks.

Adrian Gray, 24, works as a warehouse associate in Baltimore. Recently, he has been concerned with the rise of new cases. He’s noticed a lot more people not wearing masks and not social distancing in public. 

Gray said he’s been hesitant to get the vaccine. The stories he’s read of how the vaccine negatively affects the body have turned him away from getting the vaccine. He believes that it’s not a big deal to get the vaccine. 

“I was kind of a rebel throughout the pandemic, not wearing masks unless it was required, and I turned out fine,” Gray said. “I haven’t felt sick.”

As the new variant takes precedent, how the American citizens and local and national government responds will be crucial in the struggle against COVID.


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