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North Texas medical experts keeping eye on Delta variant, encouraging vaccinations

The best way to stay safe? Get vaccinated, according to Dr. Choucair.

FORT WORTH, Texas — The Tarrant County Public Health Department confirmed four cases of the Delta variant of the coronavirus have been reported in the county, according to a TCPH spokesperson. But Tarrant County Medical Society’s Dr. Robert Rogers said he's sure it won't be the last variant we'll see. The only question is: how bad could it be.

"We just can't predict whether the next one is going to be significantly worse or not,” Rogers said. “So, the pressure is still on for all of us to get vaccinated and give this virus nowhere to go.”

The Delta variant, first identified in India in the spring, is a mutation of the coronavirus that experts believe spreads faster and appears to cause more severe disease.

“You look back in late May, just a few weeks ago - only 2.7% of the cases were Delta variant. Now they’re over 20% of the cases,” White House COVID-19 Vaccinations Coordinator Dr. Bechara Choucair said ahead of First Lady Dr. Jill Biden's trip to Texas. “So, [there's been] a rapid rise of the Delta variant. And that’s a concern.”

The best way to stay safe? Get vaccinated, according to Dr. Choucair.

“When you look today, nearly all cases of infections are amongst unvaccinated. Nearly all hospitalizations in this country that are related to COVID-19, are amongst unvaccinated,” Choucair said.

Dr. Rogers, a Fort Worth physician, has been talking to his patients about the Delta variant and their plans for getting vaccinated. 

“You've got this group of people that are saying, ‘I just wanted to wait and see how it goes (with the vaccines).’ And what I've been asking those people to do, is to basically set a date,” Dr. Rogers said. “Not just leave it open-ended. But have a definite plan: By this date or by how many people I see that are getting the vaccine safely, that's when I'm going to go ahead and get it.”

We’re seeing a push to get North Texans vaccinated. 

Last week, the Rangers offered vaccines in exchange for free baseball tickets.

Uber and Lyft are offering free rides to vaccination sites through Sunday.

On Tuesday, those getting vaccinated at Emmett J. Conrad High School in Dallas will get a free pass to Six Flags.

“Whatever the incentive is, if it’s going to get more people to be vaccinated, that’s great,” Dr. Choucair said. “We want to celebrate the fact that we’re able to protect more and more people.”

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