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Bozeman doctor discusses increased risks with Delta variant of COVID-19

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Posted at 5:00 PM, Aug 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-13 16:15:16-04

BOZEMAN — There was much to learn about COVID-19, originally. Now there’s the new Delta variant and with that comes a lot more to learn about the virus.

“This virus is… always working on changing," said Bozeman Health's Dr. David King. "That’s the way viruses are. There is no limit to the amount of mutations it can do.”

"We’ve admitted 20-year-olds. We’ve admitted pregnant women with COVID, and that was pretty much unheard of before so yes I do believe, although I can’t say it’s been proven, but I absolutely believe this is more dangerous to younger people.”
Dr. David King

This isn’t something any of us want to hear, but Dr. King goes on to explain the three biggest differences between the Delta variant and the original, Alpha strain.

“It’s simply more contagious," said King. "The second thing that’s important is that it seems as if we’re starting to get proof it’s more severe.”

And thirdly?

“The thing that in some ways most frightening is that even fully vaccinated people can get sick with it,” the doctor said.

This brings the question - What’s the point of getting vaccinated now?

“If you are fully vaccinated: you may catch it, you may be asymptomatic, you may be sick with it," said King. "Very few people will actually die from it.”

Or hospitalized.

“Your chances of ending up in the hospital because of the Delta variant if you’re vaccinated are three percent or less," he said. "So we’re talking ninety-seven… I’ve heard higher numbers, but ninety-seven percent effective of keeping people out of the hospital.”

Another big difference in Delta is its effect on younger people.

"Don't wait": Anti-vaxxer who suffered with COVID now strongly urging everyone to get their shots

We in this hospital have admitted children," King said. "We’ve admitted 20-year-olds. We’ve admitted pregnant women with COVID, and that was pretty much unheard of before so yes I do believe, although I can’t say it’s been proven, but I absolutely believe this is more dangerous to younger people.”

There’s still plenty of opportunities to get vaccinated if you’re interested. You can reach out to the county health department, the hospital, or your personal healthcare provider.

There are 393 newly confirmed cases reported in Montana on Thursday, while the number of active cases decreased slightly to 2,516, down from 2,523 on Wednesday.

Flathead County again reported the most new cases with 84, as active cases dropped to 522. Yellowstone County saw the second-largest increase in cases at 56, and active cases increased to 377.

Gallatin and Missoula counties each reported 38 new cases, the third-highest new case total on Thursday. There are 178 active cases in Gallatin County and 266 active cases in Missoula County.

The total number of Montanans who have died due to COVID increased by 3 to 1,729, according to the Montana Department of Public Health & Human Services (DPHHS).

The number of state residents who have been fully immunized against the virus is now 449,259 (about 49% of the state population). The total number of doses administered is 911,524. If you want to get vaccinated, contact your county health department, or click here.

There have been 119,519 cumulative cases of COVID in Montana. The cumulative number of recoveries stands at 115,274. The total number of COVID tests administered in Montana is 1,540,336.

People can visit the DPHHS website at any time for current state data and county-specific information.

Related:

White House: FL, TX accounted for about a third of new COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations last week
Delta variant leads to renewed conversations about mental health
Montana COVID-19 update: Active cases down slightly, still above 2,500
CDC now urging all pregnant people to get vaccinated for COVID-19 as delta surges
Butte boy battling Delta variant of COVID-19 in Missoula hospital