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Dr. Fauci warns of a possible new variant, local health professionals weigh in

The nation's top infectious disease expert says that the virus will continue to mutate and form new variants if not enough people get vaccinated.

YORK, Pa. — The COVID-19 Delta variant and other variants are continuing to run their course across the nation and worldwide.

Dr. Anthony Fauci says the Delta variant is to blame for cases jumping from about 11,000 daily to 160,000.

Despite this, the nation's top infectious disease expert says there is much more to worry about and says there is a possibility of a new variant, stronger than the ones currently, to come about.

Health experts in the South Central Pennsylvania region are not surprised as they say the number of people getting vaccinated is not enough to even stop the spread of the Delta variant.

"The trouble is, we have to get our vaccination numbers up high enough to prevent some of these newer variants from emerging," Dr. Eugene Curley, infectious disease physician for Wellspan Health said, "We didn't reach, so-called 'herd immunity' quick enough, and that's what has allowed this Delta variant to come out." 

The Wolf Administration wanted 70% of full-vaccinations to reach herd immunity back in May of this year. Dr. Curely says there is still hope.

"Getting vaccinated right now is not going to prevent this Delta surge; the horse is already out of the barn but it will potentially prevent the next surge," he said. 

Another topic of discussion associated with immunity is the availability of booster shots. The FDA has not approved the shots yet and is expected to meet on Friday for a decision.

Dr. Joseph Kontra, chief of infectious diseases for Lancaster General Health,  says the priority now should be getting those who are unvaccinated, vaccinated.

"The vaccination rates in most countries of the world are far, far lower than they are in the United States," he said, "It's a matter of having that priority ahead of the priority of boosters for people who need additional immunity."

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