Doctors are keeping a close eye on a possibly newly emerging COVID-19 variant named Lambda. The COVID-19 positivity rate in Georgia has doubled in the last two weeks.
The latest variant to be named a “variant of interest” by the World Health Organization is the lambda variant, which was first documented in Peru last December, according to the WHO. The WHO designates variants of interest if there is substantial community transmission of the variant, and if scientists detect genetic changes that could make the variant more contagious or severe.
A public health researcher spoke about the current status of Georgia in the fight against COVID-19. For months, doctors have said getting the COVID-19 positivity rate below 5% is key. Two weeks ago it was below 2% in Georgia, but it is now hovering above 4%. It’s a concerning trend which is likely due to the spreading delta variant. This variant has hit some of the unvaccinated areas of the country especially hard.
Dr. Felipe Lobelo, physician director of epidemiology, believes the increased positivity rate in Georgia is because of the delta variant.
“It’s probably just a matter of time for us in Georgia to see a trend. There’s still some time to avoid a huge surge, spikes in cases, hospitalizations if you can get more people vaccinated as soon as possible,” said Lobelo.
Lobelo says the medical community is actively watching the Lambda variant which is prevalent in South America.