The Minister was at the time speaking in the House of Assembly (HoA) on August 16, 2021, when he also warned of the impacts of the variant on the world.
“To better understand the significance of Delta reaching our shores, we first must understand what makes Delta so much of a concern. The Delta variant is highly contagious or has increased transmissibility, according to the WHO and the CDC.”
He said the variant has accounted for more than 80% of new cases in the United States and recent research has found that the Delta variant grows more rapidly and to much greater levels in the respiratory tract, making it potentially more fatal than the initial virus.
“This has the ability to translate into a catastrophe for a small community like ours, especially because our vaccination levels are not where they need to be in order to protect us.”
Hon Malone said the good news for the VI is that the recently discovered case, based on samples that were taken, was contact traced, isolated, and mitigated.
“The bad news is that the positive case didn’t have a travel history, therefore, we can assume that the Delta variant may still be and is likely to be lurking within the territory,” he said.
Hon Malone reminded that health experts have warned about the severity of illness that the variant could cause and that the local community should continue to comply with public health protocols and get vaccinated.
“Mr Speaker, we are now seeing that a growing number of young people are dying from this disease. Don’t assume that your youth will protect you. This disease is revealing health issues that persons did not even know were there. Don’t let too late be your cry,” Hon Malone warned.
He called on the VI community to protect themselves, protect each other and protect the community by getting vaccinated against COVID-19.