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There are now at least 12 COVID-19 variants circulating in Tennessee

Tenn. Dept. Health

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Mike Osborne)  --  A total of 12 COVID-19 variants are now circulating in Tennessee. That’s up from the five variants known to be circulating in the state just three weeks ago.

The Delta variant is among the new strains. Delta was first detected in India and is the variant that on Monday prompted Australian authorities to lock down more than 10 million residents.

The CDC says Delta is more contagious than other variants and has resulted in increased hospitalizations where it takes hold.

Fortunately, current vaccines do appear to be effective against the mutated strain.

Noted Vanderbilt Professor of Preventive Medicine, Dr. William Schaffner, noted it's the state’s unvaccinated, or partially vaccinated, residents who are now most at risk.

Dr. Schaffner told WMOT on Monday “Tennessee is very vulnerable to sustained COVID hospitalizations and deaths because we have such a low vaccination rate.”

As of Tuesday morning, just 37 percent of Tennesseans are fully vaccinated against the virus, one of the lowest vaccination rates in the country.

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