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The COVID variant first laid a foothold in the Missouri countryside


Kansas City, Missouri (AP) — A highly contagious coronavirus variant that has contributed to the proliferation of cases in Missouri was the first to establish a foothold in rural areas of low-vaccination states. This is a pattern not seen before. ..

The first delta variant detected in India is becoming the leading strain detected in wastewater in parts of the state, especially in the southwestern corner where hospitalization for COVID-19 is increasing. It’s also a far cry from the first alpha version detected in the UK, said Jeff Wensel, who oversees the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services’ wastewater monitoring program.

“In the UK variant, we found it to be seen in big cities and spread to small communities. Now we can see the opposite in this Delta variant.”

Delta variants are also found in wastewater samples in the Kansas City and St. Louis regions. But “it doesn’t look good in big cities, it’s not as easy to see as some small communities,” Wenzel said.

Authorities are still unsure why spreads are so different, but are exploring the possibility that lower vaccination rates in rural areas of the state may play a role.

For example, in St. Louis County, 48.4% of residents receive at least one dose. However, the proportion is half of the wide range of southwestern and northern Missouri, with the largest increase in cases reported, state data show.

Not only is it highly contagious, but it is also likely to lead to hospitalization, so this variant is of concern.

State epidemiologist Dr. George Turabelidze said Missouri had vaccinated about 50,000 people a day in March and April, but has since dropped to about 10,000 people a day, and the state’s vaccination rate is domestic. Said the lowest in.

“It’s a concern because this newly emerging variant is highly infectious and its main target is unvaccinated people,” he said in a video posted on the Health Department’s website Wednesday night. Said in.

Missouri is currently leading the country with most of the new cases per capita. Data from Johns Hopkins University have recorded 144.9 new cases for every 100,000 residents in the last 14 days.

Lisa Cox, a spokeswoman for the Department of Health, said the agency is exploring various incentive options at the state level. But she said there were no details on Thursday.

The email message left to Republican Governor Mike Parson’s communications staff was not immediately returned.

In addition to the flooding of hospitals, the incident is again causing problems for schools. At St. Joseph, last week we had to move summer classes online at two schools. This is because about 50% of students are ill with COVID-19 and other illnesses, quarantine or vacation. St. Joseph School District.

She said it wasn’t what she had imagined when the district was planning for the summer. The number of cases this spring was so low that the district even decided to make masks an option at summer schools.

“I really thought.” Things look good. Summer school is a great option to unlock some of our restrictions. Let’s see how things work and can get back to normal as much as possible in the fall, “she thought. -Pandemic. “

However, the district is located in Buchanan County, and only 20.8% of the population has received at least one shot.

“What you’re looking at right now is where the virus is most likely to circulate. Where are the vulnerabilities? And across the United States,” said Dr. Bill Powderley, co-director of the University of Washington School of Medicine’s Infectious Diseases Division. Vulnerability pockets are a community with very low vaccination rates, which means that the virus is much more likely to circulate because of the large number of people who are susceptible to the virus. “

He said young people are more likely to get sick than previous strains. However, it is still unclear whether vaccination will increase.

“If you’re probably in a rural community where a few people are infected and no one gets sick, I think it’s exaggerated and your political leader tells you it’s not a big deal.” He said. “I understand why people start their way, but I don’t want people to die to convince others that they need vaccination. People understand that this is not a trivial matter. I hope you start doing it. “

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