‘If you are not vaccinated, you really are in trouble:’ Georgia doctors sound alarm on Delta variant

ATLANTA — Infectious disease doctors say unvaccinated people are at the highest risk of contracting and dying from the Delta variant.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the most recent 7-day average of new COVID-19 cases in Georgia jumped about 70% over the previous average.

Channel 2′s Audrey Washington was at Emory University Hospital Monday morning, where doctors held an urgent meeting to warn about the new variant.

[RELATED: How do you know if you have the delta variant; what are the symptoms?]

Doctors said they’re seeing a rise in cases and hospitalizations and they’re mostly treating younger people who did not take the virus seriously.

[SPECIAL SECTION: COVID-19 Vaccine in Georgia]

Dr. Carlos del Rio, Distinguished Professor of Medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases at Emory University School of Medicine and Executive Associate Dean for Emory at Grady, said unvaccinated people and the Delta variant are a deadly combination.

“If you are vaccinated you should not worry about the Delta variant. If you are not vaccinated you really are in trouble,” del Rio said.

According to the Georgia Department of Public Health, only about 39% of people in the state are fully vaccinated. The 7-day average of new cases in Georgia on June 19 was 279. This week’s 7-day average of new cases is 756. The Georgia Department of Health reported 2,271 news cases on Monday.

“Now, one infected person infects 8 or 9 people, and then 8 or 9 people, so that means the spread is much faster,” del Rio said. “The Delta variant is incredibly infectious, highly transmissible.”

[LINK: Where to find the COVID-19 vaccine in Georgia]

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During Monday’s meeting, infectious disease doctors also tackled whether there is a need for additional vaccine boosters for people who are immunocompromised.

Last week, Pfizer asked the FDA for approval for boosters.

“I mean I think at some point in time, boosters may be necessary for people who are immunocompromised and transplant patients, but for the greater population, the booster that we need is for the unvaccinated to get vaccinated,” del Rio said.