What you need to know about the COVID-19 delta variant in WNY

Delta variant makes up 83% of new US cases
COVID-19 vaccine
Posted at 5:35 PM, Jul 21, 2021

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Breakthrough COVID-19 infections are being reported across the country, but the Chief of Infectious Diseases with the University at Buffalo, Dr. Russo said vaccinated Western New Yorkers should not be too concerned.

“We are seeing a recent uptick in hospitalizations here in Western New York,” Russo said. “This is almost certainly due to people that are not vaccinated. Although our vaccines are extraordinary, they’re not perfect. We do expect a few breakout infections. But, those breakthrough cases will be asymptotic or with mild symptoms.”

The CDC announced on Tuesday that the delta variant now makes up 83-percent of all COVID-19 cases in the U.S. This is a 50-percent increase from the week of July 3rd.

“I think the people in Western New York that should be nervous are the unvaccinated," Russo said. "If you’re unvaccinated, the delta variant is highly infectious, and it will find you.”

A new study that has not been peer reviewed yet shows the Johnson and Johnson vaccine may be less effective against the delta variant compared to the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.

“The J&J may be more imperfect than the other vaccines,” Russo said. “We will have to see how that plays out. I think the J&J will keep us out of hospitals, and that’s the most important thing.”

Russo said he is anticipating an increase in cases and an increase in hospitalizations in our area within the next month.

“Hopefully bad outcomes will be minimized because we have done a pretty good job vaccinating our most vulnerable,” Russo said.

Russo also wants to make it clear that having natural immunity does not give the same protection as the vaccine.