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Public health leaders monitoring spread of Delta variant in W.Va.

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BECKLEY, W.Va. (WVVA) Amid all the celebrations planned for West Virginia Day and the state's success in its Coronavirus response, there is an emerging threat with the potential to derail those festivities.

CDC officials said recently the Delta variant, or India variant, is continuing to spread in the U.S. and could soon arrive in West Virginia.

Why should this concern you?

According to West Virginia's Coronavirus Czar Clay Marsh, the variant spreads faster than every other variant detected.

West Virginia Bureau for Public Health Dir. Dr. Ayne Amjad said the state, to date, has only seen three cases.

"It's something we are tracking through the WVU laboratory right now. But to date, there are no new cases."

Still, the virus' movements are being followed closely. According to Dr. Marsh, "in the United Kingdom, in those who have not been vaccinated and only partially vaccinated people with only one shot of Pfizer or Moderna or Astra Zeneca, they're seeing a doubling of cases in the Indian variant every eight days."

The Alpha variant, once the most prolific spreader of the virus, has been overtaken by the Delta variant in recent week, which researchers say is 60 percent more transmissible.

The good news is Dr. Marsh said those who are fully vaccinated are largely protected from the virus' worst symptoms.

"We know it's coming and we have time to prepare ourselves," said Dr. Marsh. "So the time is now to step up and prepare and be vaccinated."

There is also a new study out this week by Lancet that shows the Delta variant is associated with almost double the risk of hospitalization compared to the Alpha variant.

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Annie Moore

Multimedia Journalist

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