Delta Variant Found in Nebraska, Experts Urge Young To Get Vaccinated

June 29, 2021, 4:46 p.m. ·

Close up of needle into small bottle of vaccine.
COVID-19 booster shots will be offered today for free in O'Neill, Nebraska (legacy photo)

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Despite the state of emergency in Nebraska ending tomorrow, a new COVID-19 variant has been found in the southwestern part of the state.

The Southwest Nebraska Public Health Department is investigating the first case in their region of the highly contagious Delta COVID-19 variant. It was first detected in India, which caused a major outbreak in the Asian country and the U.K. Health Director Myra Stoney said the variant came to Nebraska because of travel and urges everyone to get vaccinated.

"The pandemic is not over, even though hospitalization numbers are down," she said. "People need to do what they can to keep themselves safe."

Infectious Disease Physician Dr. James Lawler with the University of Nebraska Medical Center said unvaccinated people have suffered almost all the recent hospitalizations and deaths occurring in United Kingdom. Plus, children and younger adults are often affected more severely by the Delta variant. Dr. Lawler worries Nebraskans in rural communities with low vaccination rates, particularly young people, will be more vulnerable to new mutations of the coronavirus.

"The real tragedy of the pandemic now in the U.S. is essentially every death in the U.S. is now a preventable death," he said. "Because if those people had been adequately vaccinated, they would not have suffered severe disease and would not have resulted in a fatal infection. It is imperative for people to get vaccinated."

Lawler said Nebraskans need to realize that we may be done with the pandemic, but the pandemic is not done with us. He thinks the variant has already spread across the state and the rest of the country.