West Virginia suffers from spread of Delta variants and delayed vaccinations

Coronavirus cases approaching record highs in West Virginia, and the state’s schools are shutting down and its hospitals suffocated by...


Coronavirus cases approaching record highs in West Virginia, and the state’s schools are shutting down and its hospitals suffocated by patients stricken with the wickedly infectious Delta variant.

Just seven months ago, when the Covid vaccine was still being rolled out, the state was a national leader. At the end of June, the state governor, Jim Justice, a Republican, had removed a statewide mask requirement.

But West Virginia has since fallen far behind and its pandemic status has deteriorated, a situation shared with other states with large unvaccinated populations. Just under 48% of West Virginia’s population aged 18 and over is fully vaccinated, the lowest of any state, according to federal data compiled by The New York Times.

President Biden tried to push the roughly 80 million eligible but unvaccinated people in the United States to get vaccinated when he announcement Thursday one scan plane which included vaccine requirements, he said, would cover some 100 million American workers.

Authorized at federal level vaccines dramatically decreases the risk of hospitalization and death, even of the Delta variant, according to three studies published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Friday.

The Governor of Justice has been more outspoken about vaccinations than many other Republican governors.

“We can stop this, West Virginia, we can stop it,” Justice said at a press conference on Friday. “Vaccines are safe. Vaccines are not an invasion for anyone. “

Even though the judge regularly pleads with his constituents to get vaccinated, vaccination warrants are “something I absolutely do not believe in,” he said. In a video which Mr. Justice tweeted the same day, he suggested that Mr. Biden’s announcement of new vaccine warrants was a ploy to try to distract the public from the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan or the crushing of the migrants at the southern border.

The latest wave enveloped West Virginia with a ferocity the virus had not shown before, the state’s coronavirus response official Dr Clay Marsh said.

“The rate of rapid growth and the level of severity of the disease has really been much higher than ever before,” Dr. Marsh said.

The seven-day average of new cases reported in West Virginia nearly hit record highs for the entire month of September, surpassing 1,500 per day for most of last week, according to data compiled by the New York Times. The state recently exceeded a total of 200,000 cases, more than four times the population of Charleston, the capital and largest city.

Hospitalizations are approaching the state’s pandemic level, pushing its understaffed health centers to near capacity, and a record number of Covid patients are being treated in intensive care units. Dr Marsh said the state was reducing the number of elective procedures and taking steps to ensure hospitals were adequately staffed.

And while deaths average only 12 per day, that’s more than 41% of the state’s maximum average for the pandemic, reached in January.

Last January, when the state faced the worst conditions it has ever seen, West Virginia the deployment of the vaccine was the envy of other states. But demand for the vaccine has plummeted, as in much of the country. Since then, Mr. Justice has turned to a number of incentive programs, including $ 100 Youth Savings Bonds and a vaccine competition in which West Virginia can win cash, a scholarship, a sports car or a pontoon boat.

Major General Jim Hoyer, a retired National Guard officer who heads the interagency task force that coordinates West Virginia’s vaccination efforts, said several approaches were needed.

“Someone said, ‘What’s the only thing that worked? “, Said Major-General Hoyer. “And there wasn’t a single thing that was working. There was a whole series of things.

The recent increase has spurred more vaccinations, Major-General Hoyer said, but the pace has slowed somewhat in recent days. Surveys have shown that less than 20 percent of the state’s residents are categorically opposed to vaccination, he said, and direct outreach to health care providers was an important way to reach hesitant people. .

Mr Justice said that even with more West Virginia vaccinated, there was no guarantee the current wave was near its peak.

“Maybe we won’t peak until Halloween or Thanksgiving, and in all of that, how many more are going to die, and die a horrible death, a death you can’t breathe?” He asked.

Sarah Cahalan and Mitch Smith contributed reporting.

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Newsrust - US Top News: West Virginia suffers from spread of Delta variants and delayed vaccinations
West Virginia suffers from spread of Delta variants and delayed vaccinations
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