TOPEKA (KSNT) – Some countries are bracing for a third wave as coronavirus cases spread. Health officials have pointed to the highly contagious delta variant as the cause of recent surges the U.S. has experienced.
Dr. Dana Hawkinson, an Infectious Disease Specialist with the University of Kansas Medical Center, said low vaccination rates in countries that have seen a climbing number of cases, like India, could attribute to the potential for a third wave to come.
While it’s too soon to tell if another wave of cases onset by the delta variant could occur in the U.S., Hawkinson told the Kansas Capitol Bureau Wednesday that what is clear is that, for now, coronavirus is here to stay.
“We are going to have to live at least in the foreseeable future with COVID-19 in some form or another. Will that be better or worse? I think that really comes down to our behavior as well as the variants,” Hawkinson said.
The highly contagious delta variant has raised concern over rising infections and deaths, and its impact on the current trend in cases for the U.S. seems to follow that of other countries, with two months of increase and then a decline.
However, Hawkinson said the U.S. is unique in the fact that coronavirus vaccines are in abundant supply, and vaccination is key to determining how severe the next surge is.
According to the CDC, 51.6% of Kansas’ total population is fully vaccinated so far.
Without the necessary precautions to stay safe, Hawkinson said the next wave could look a lot like the last surge, which pushed hospital workers to their limits with an influx of patients.
“Right now, is really the time to act to try and get those populations that are eligible for vaccination, who haven’t gotten vaccinated, to get vaccinated, because that is going to be our best defense against other waves or other surges in the virus,” he said.
Newly released state data shows that, as of Wednesday, 5,329 delta variant cases have been identified in Kansas.