50 percent of Wisconsinites unvaccinated; UW Health highlights ‘troubling’ pandemic trends

“I think we’ll see severe disease in people who are not vaccinated,” an expert with UW Health said.
Published: Aug. 2, 2021 at 11:57 AM CDT|Updated: Aug. 2, 2021 at 4:47 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are trending upwards in the state of Wisconsin, as the Delta variant continues to spread across the U.S.—signaling a fourth surge in the pandemic.

UW Health highlighted some key numbers of COVID-19 data Monday, revealing that the more contagious Delta variant is responsible for more than 80 percent of new cases.

Over 98 percent of cases recorded in the state just this year were among the unvaccinated, according to DHS numbers. Right now, the state’s top health agency shows 50 percent of Wisconsinites remain unvaccinated.

The seven-day average of cases in the state has skyrocketed, going up from a low of 60 cases per day on July 5 to 556 cases per day on July 29—an increase of 826 percent. DHS numbers also show hospitalizations went up 826 percent within the same time frame.

While the vaccine can’t guarantee you won’t contract the virus, UW Health’s top infection expert Dr. Nasia Safdar said they are doing what they are supposed to do.

“It sounds like the vaccine is very effective for what it was meant to do, which is to prevent hospitalizations, prevent complications, and prevent deaths,” Dr. Safdar said. “I think it’s doing that.”

Dr. Safdar added that, in the case of breakthrough cases of the Delta variant, those who are vaccinated are likely to have mild symptoms. She went on to say the concerning group is the unvaccinated, as the line of defense provided by the vaccine is not there.

“I think we’ll see severe disease in people who are not vaccinated, and I think we’ll see amplification and movement of the virus in those individuals to begin with,” Dr. Safdar said. “Because of that, it’s likely there will be continued spread and transmission of Delta, but it will be [reduced] in people who are vaccinated.”

Health officials at the federal, state and local level have issued new mask recommendations in response to the troubling trends, recommending masks be worn in indoor, public spaces regardless of vaccination status in areas where COVID-19 is spreading at a ‘substantial’ or ‘high’ rate.

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