COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Vaccination trends have led to the development of “two Ohios” when it comes to combating the coronavirus, increasing vulnerability to the disease’s highly contagious delta variant, the state’s top medical official warned Wednesday.
The delta variant is rapidly becoming the disease’s dominant strain and is a real threat to those who are unvaccinated, said Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, chief medical officer for the Ohio Department of Health.
The delta variant was first identified in India and is now spreading in more than 90 other countries.
Meanwhile, about 5.3 million people in Ohio, or 45% of the population, have completed the vaccination process.
“The reality is, we now have two Ohios,” Vanderhoff said. “An Ohio that is vaccinated and protected on the one hand, and an Ohio that is unvaccinated and vulnerable to delta on the other.”
About nine of every 10 people hospitalized for COVID-19 in central Ohio since April have been partially vaccinated or not vaccinated at all, added Dr. Andrew Thomas, chief clinical officer at the Ohio State University medical center.
The doctors’ remarks came a day after Gov. Mike DeWine said Ohio will soon announce a second coronavirus vaccine incentive program following the Vax-a-Million initiative that offered five $1 million prizes and five full-ride college scholarships.