Illinois has seen six times more gamma variant cases than delta so far: report
Illinois has seen six times as many gamma variant cases of the coronavirus as delta variant ones, according to an analysis done by Chicago’s local CBS News affiliate, though the state health department indicates that will likely soon change.
There have been more than 10,000 variant COVID-19 cases recorded so far by the Illinois Department of Public Health as of Monday, according to the outlet, with the gamma variant making up more than 2,600 of them compared to only 403 for the delta, which has been been wreaking havoc across the nation.
“The Gamma variant became established in Illinois this Spring, before the Delta variant was identified in Illinois. Many cases of Gamma variant were associated with travelers returning home from other states tournaments, camping, etc. We saw mainly community-specific transmission,” a spokesperson for the health department told The Hill on Friday.
“Through increased testing, more sequencing, and vaccination targeting hot spots, we’ve been able to contain the increase for the most part. We are now seeing Delta replacing what has been the most common strain. Alpha was replaced by Gamma, and now the rate of growth with Delta indicates that it will replace Gamma,” the spokesperson added.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky said Tuesday that the delta variant made up 83 percent of all current COVID-19 cases in the U.S.
Illinois has had more than 1.4 million reported cases of the coronavirus with more than 25,000 deaths, according to data from John Hopkins University.
“The Delta variant that we are hearing so much about doesn’t seem to be making, as of yet, as much inroads into Chicago as we would’ve otherwise expected,” Stefan Green, director of the Genomics and Microbiome Facility at Rush University Medical Center, told CBS News earlier this week.
Preliminary research has indicated that the available coronavirus vaccines are effective against variants of the virus, but vaccination rates have significantly dropped off in recent weeks.
Illinois has 50 percent of its population fully vaccinated against the coronavirus.
—Updated Friday at 12:34 p.m.