KANSAS CITY, Mo. — There's a new COVID-19 variant moving into the Kansas City area and officials are worried low vaccination rates will help fuel a surge in new cases.
The Delta variant is 66% more transmissible than the first variant and twice as likely to have more serious disease, according to a Kansas City, Missouri, Health Department news release.
The new variant can also cause people with the disease to mistakenly believe they have a bad cold, according to the department.
The Delta variant's main symptom is a headache, along with a sore throat, runny nose and a fever.
Coughing, breathing problems and loss of taste or smell are the usual symptoms of the first variant.
Adding to the problem is the low vaccination rate in Missouri.
Just 41% of Kansas City, Missouri, residents have gotten their first vaccine dose.
According to numbers released Wednesday at a KCMO COVID-19 Task Force meeting, 67% of residents 65 to 69 years old have completed their vaccinations.
More than 80% of those 70 to 74 years old have completed their vaccinations, according to numbers provided by the KCMO Health Department.
Just 29% of residents 20 to 24 years old are fully vaccinated and 28.1% of residents 25 to 29 years old have completed their vaccinations.
"If you have been waiting to get vaccinated or to vaccinate your children 12 and older, the wait window is over," KCMO Director of Health Dr. Rex Archer stated in the news release. "We are seeing a significant surge in cases in southwest Missouri. There is only a small window of opportunity to get vaccinated before the variant takes hold."