The Delta Variant is the villain of the Coronavirus Saga in Summer 2021.
How is the Delta Variant causing so much havoc, where are the main US problem areas, and what can we do to contain it?
This is what we will cover in today’s piece.
We also discuss travel and economic restrictions that may affect your investment outlook.
What makes Delta Variant different?
As of early August, the Delta variant accounts for 94% of new cases in the US. Caseloads are skyrocketing in this nation as well as others including the UK. 50% more contagious, Delta shows a distinct symptom profile more in line with the classic flu.
Symptoms include fever, runny nose, cough, fatigue, and headache, with fewer reports of shortness of breath as compared to the original Alpha COVID-19 variant.
Dr. Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine and co-director of the Center for Vaccine Development at Texas Children’s Hospital:
“The amount of virus in the nasal passages and the mouth appear to be higher from Delta compared to previous lineages”
Where are the major Delta Outbreak areas?
There is a substantial difference in vaccination rates within regions in the US. Seniors are being vaccinated at close to equal rates throughout America. But, the vast majority of youth and young adults are not vaccinated in US South.
Dr. Peter Hotez:
“We’re looking at maybe 20 to 25 percent of adolescents in many Southern counties who are vaccinated, compared to over 70 percent in Massachusetts and Vermont, and similar although somewhat higher percentages among young adults. So the big vulnerability in the South right now are all the unvaccinated young people. And that’s what we’re seeing—COVID-19 is just ripping through the Southern states, and we’re seeing lots of young people going into the hospital now.”
According to investigators who previously developed the COVID-19 Simulator — which models the trajectory of the illness in the U.S. at the state and national levels — the combination of variant’s high transmissibility, low vaccination coverage in several regions, and more relaxed attitudes toward social distancing will likely lead to a surge in COVID-19–related deaths in at least 40 states.
And if current social distancing behaviors and vaccination rates remain unchanged, the simulator predicts that in several states, daily COVID-19–related deaths could exceed the peak seen in early 2021.
The researchers applied the tool to potential scenarios in which the COVID-19 delta variant becomes dominant in every state. Its analysis, published on the preprint server medRxiv, showed an additional 157,000 COVID-19-related deaths could occur across the U.S. between August 1 and December 31. It projected approximately 20,700 delta-related deaths in Texas, 16,000 in California, 12,400 in Florida, 12,000 in North Carolina, and 9,300 in Georgia. In contrast, the projected number of COVID-19-related deaths would remain below 200 in New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont, and Rhode Island.
Delta Variant Prevention and Containment Strategies
Generally speaking, the strategy for Delta is the same as for the first (Alpha) COVID-19 variant.
Dr. Gerald W. Parker, director of the Pandemic & Biosecurity Policy Program within the Bush School of Government and Public Service and associate dean of Global One Health at the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences:
“Vaccines are readily available and are by far the most effective tool we have in our toolkit to limit community transmission and reduce the risk of severe disease and death.”
“Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson are conducting new clinical trials with vaccine candidates designed against new variants and are prepared to pivot manufacturing boosters against specific new variants like we do every year for seasonal influenza.”
Two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine were 88% effective against the delta variant. That’s compared to 93.7% against the alpha strain, it said.
The AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine was found to be 67% effective against delta, compared to 74.5% effectiveness against the alpha variant, according to the study.
Travel, Social and Economic Restrictions caused by Delta Variant
As we’ve mentioned in our previous emails – and as we are all too aware – the longer COVID drags on, the longer we all suffer. Our health, well-being, and livelihoods are all dependent on recovery and containment.
Let’s take a look at how Delta may affect full recovery in the US.
Due to surging Delta cases, the US Government continued to maintain current travel restrictions. They also advise against travel to the UK and continue to ban travel from India.
Earlier in July, the Department of Homeland Security said it would extend the closure of the land borders with Canada and Mexico until at least Aug. 21. Canada’s government plans to open the border to fully vaccinated Americans beginning Aug. 9.
One of the major concerns in the US is in the south with school re-openings coinciding with the drastic rise in COVID cases in the un-vaccinated youth.
“I’m quite worried about the schools because there’s so much transmission now in the Southern region, and the vaccination rates among adolescents are really low. Everyone’s talking about mask mandates for schools, but I think we need to move toward vaccination mandates, and that’s going to be really important if we’re going to have a successful school year. Otherwise, we’re already seeing so many kids getting COVID as schools start to open—it’s just going to shut everything down. I think we need to reprioritize getting kids safely through the school year and in-person classes, and that’s going to mean both vaccine and mask mandates. Even though that’s not popular, I don’t see another way around it.
The anti-vaccine aggression is still pretty high. We still need to address the disinformation that still dominates the media and social media.”
Cities such as Chicago and New York City are creating their unique travel restriction policies. NYC is requiring proof of vaccination for indoor activities as of Aug. 16, and proof of vaccination cards is required on person at all times by Sept. 13.
Many major banks, offices, and other institutions delayed their office grand re-openings, planned for an early August roll-out.
Consumer confidence, people’s confidence in the current and future state of the economy, fell to its lowest level in ten years. This drop is unexpected as economists had expected the index to remain at July’s level of 82.1 points. At the beginning of August, a considerably lower number rolled out: 70.2 points.
The stock market remains defiant with minor drops more related to concerns of the removal of the US military from Afghanistan.
In summer 2021, the Coronavirus Pandemic became an issue of vaccinated vs unvaccinated.
We learned that certain demographics and regions of the US are rejecting vaccination at high rates. We also discovered that the major Delta outbreak areas in the US are primarily in areas with low vaccination rates.
Tragically, these continued outbreaks are slowing economic recovery, by disrupting efforts to fully re-open businesses and the economy. We are feeling the collateral effects on national and global levels.
Recovery, economic and social, requires full health – across all population demographics.
At BAI Capital, we sincerely hope for health, recovery, and access to unbiased data for all. Let’s make the best decisions for ourselves, our families, businesses, and communities.
To discuss your US real estate fund and property investment opportunities, we are always just a call away.