Local public health professor warns of Delta variant spread and urges caution

Local News

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — Even though there have been no cases of the Delta COVID-19 variant reported in El Paso, a local medical expert advises people to practice caution and continue vaccination efforts.

Dr. Jagdish Khubchandani, public health professor at New Mexico State University, said that states that have lower vaccination rates are now seeing a spike in cases with the Delta variant. He said this could happen in El Paso as well as we head into fall and winter, which brings the flu season.

“The job of a virus is to mutate and our job is to mitigate,” said Khubchandani, adding that more variants are likely to develop as the pandemic continues.

According to city of El Paso data, there ae now 68.1 percent of vaccinated people in El Paso that are 12 or older. Throughout the country, that percentage is a little more than 48 percent.

“If we hit the 70,80-percent mark, maybe we will have some control over the pandemic, but this winter will not be easy and it may continue with this pandemic well into the end of 2022,” Khubchandani said.

He added that vaccination efforts need to be continued and advised those who are vaccinated to wear a mask if they are unsure of who is vaccinated around them.

“It is perfectly legal for you to ask people if they are vaccinated,” he said. “But people can say, ‘no, I don’t want to tell you this.'”

He said it’s important to not turn this type of communication into judgment or accusations.

“If they invite you to a home, to a gathering or a party, you definitely want to ask people if they are vaccinated,” he said.

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