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Health leaders warn about COVID-19 delta variant

Medical experts said the variant spreads a lot faster and could make you sicker.

INDIANAPOLIS — Health leaders are sounding the alarm about the new delta variant of COVID-19.

If you're not vaccinated, they say you will face a much more dangerous coronavirus that we did during the heart of the pandemic.

Just as more Hoosiers get life back to normal, a troubling new trend is moving across the country.

The CDC just labeled and elevated the COVID-19 delta variant to one of "concern".

It spreads a lot faster and could make you sicker.

"The concern with this particular one is it clearly is more contagious than any of the other variants," said Dr. Ram Yeleti, Chief Physician Executive with Community Health Network.

"It is a super spreader that may be associated with higher complications and targeting a much younger age bracket," added Marion County Health Department Director Dr. Virginia Caine.

The very group lagging behind in vaccinations is most vulnerable to the delta variant: people in their 20's and 30's are more likely to be hospitalized.

That's what happened in India where this variant was first discovered and in the UK, soon after.

"In Great Britain between ages 20-29, it became the dominant strain in 60 days," Dr. Caine explained.

Right now, the delta variant accounts for nearly 10 percent of new COVID cases in the U.S.

Although it hasn't been documented in Indiana yet, doctors say it's just a matter of time.

"I am certain it is actually in the state of Indiana, we just don't know what percentage. But the big concern is that because it's contagious it could actually spread very rapidly, especially in the unvaccinated people." Dr. Yeleti said.

The good news for those who are vaccinated, studies show you will be protected against this new threat.

All three vaccines are shown to work to reduce risk and death from the delta variant.

"The vaccines are effective for the variant, no question about it," Dr. Yeleti said.

That's why health leaders are once again urging Hoosiers to get that shot, get protected and avoid any more possible restrictions because of a new outbreak.

Marion County health leaders are studying how this is spreading in other states and are encouraging people here to get the vaccine.

"We've got a lot of work cut out for us but we still really need to reach those young adults," Dr. Caine said.

"Because of how contagious it is, if you have a group of people that are unvaccinated sitting in a restaurant or doing something together, the chance of them all getting it, like a super spreader event, really really goes up quite a bit and so I cannot stress enough how urgent that is to get the shot," Dr. Yeleti said.

The Marion County Health Department and Community Health Network have another free vaccination clinic this Saturday from 9:00 until 3:00 at Warren Central High School for anyone age 12 and up. There are incentives, like tickets to the Children's Museum and a signed Peyton Manning jersey, at Saturday's clinic.

Learn more and register here.