‘Most of the south is on fire’: COVID-19 Delta variant, community questions at center of event with Dr. Peter Hotez

HOUSTON – A community conversation event about COVID-19 with Congresswoman Lizzie Fletcher, State Rep. Ann Johnson and Dr. Peter Hotez, an expert on contagious diseases and vaccine development, was held Tuesday afternoon.

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Hotez discussed the latest developments with the Delta variant and answered several community questions. He said the virus is accelerating once again and wished that more adolescents and people receive the vaccine to decrease the virus transmission. Hotez said the Delta variant came from the UK and India, which is now impacting Americans. He said 85% of the nation needs to be vaccinated, including adolescents, to fight against the Delta variant.

Hotez said he is not concerned about students returning back to class because of the district’s safety protocols and teachers, staff and students being vaccinated.

“Unfortunately, we’re not so fortunate down here in the south, we’re going in the wrong direction and have been for a while,” he said. “Let’s take a step back and look at the state of Louisiana right now, which is on fire, in fact, most of the south is on fire, but Louisiana is the worse affected state right now.”

Watch the video of the full event in the playlist above where Dr. Hotez answered several questions about the delta variant and COVID-19 vaccines.

He said health officials are starting to see a lot of young people being in the hospital and children are at risk of going into the pediatric ICU before the school year even starts.

Hotez said if it was up to him, he would mandate vaccines and masks for schools in the south. He also debunked a few theories from anti-vaxxers, noting that the COVID-19 vaccine is not dangerous.

When asked how effective the vaccine is against the Delta virus, Hotex explained that vaccines were released on emergency authorization due to their high performance in protecting those against serious illness and hospitalization. Not with the Delta variant, he said because of the variant’s ability to replicate at a high account, vaccinated people can still spread the virus to others and their families. Hotez said vaccinated individuals can be asymptomatic but the amount of time they have the virus has shortened.


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Amanda Cochran is an Edward R. Murrow award-winning journalist. She specializes in Texas features, social media news and local crime.

Award-winning journalist, mother, YouTuber, social media guru, millennial, mentor, storyteller, University of Houston alumna and Houston-native.