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The Battalion

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BCHD hosts July 29 press conference on variants, vaccines

Dr.+Seth+Sullivan+addresses+the+media+during+a+press+conference+held+at+the+Brazos+County+Health+Department+on+the+afternoon+of+Thursday%2C+July+29.%26%23160%3B
Photo by Abbey Santoro

Dr. Seth Sullivan addresses the media during a press conference held at the Brazos County Health Department on the afternoon of Thursday, July 29. 

Brazos County Health District officials gathered at a press conference on Thursday, July 29 to discuss the state of COVID-19 in Brazos County.
Among the officials was Health Authority Dr. Seth Sullivan, who updated viewers on the current case numbers in Brazos County. To date, there have been 24,506 total cases in the county, 34 of which were reported yesterday. Currently, there are 413 active cases, with this week’s daily average at 36 cases per day, seven higher than last week’s average.
Sullivan also spoke on the increasing presence of the Delta variant of COVID-19, with 16 confirmed cases in Brazos County. However, Sullivan said he believes there to be many more cases of the Delta variant, given that identifying the Delta variant requires more work.
“Data does show that the Delta variant is much more contagious than past versions of the virus – at least two-fold, if not greater,” Sullivan said. “People infected with the Delta variant have a higher viral loads, we are able to quantify that.”
As a result of the effects of the Delta variant, the CDC has recommended that all individuals, vaccinated or not, wear masks indoors, especially in areas of high transmission, such as Brazos County.
“We know that masks cannot be mandated, and so we know that can’t be the case,” Sullivan said. “But we also know that The American Academy of Pediatrics, we know that the CDC [has] recommended masking.”
Of those eligible for vaccination, meaning 12 years and older, at least 52 percent have received a COVID-19 vaccine. Sullivan said 87 percent of the July cases were from unvaccinated individuals, with 109 “breakthroughs,” or cases in which a vaccinated person tested positive for COVID-19.
“We have to remember that even those who are high-risk who have been vaccinated, the vaccine is not 100 percent effective,” Sullivan said. “So, we don’t have 100 percent assurance that those who have been vaccinated, who are at risk for severe disease, won’t get severe disease.”
Sullivan also said the 12-18 and 18-24 age ranges are the most unvaccinated groups, which causes concern as the academic year is soon to start. According to Sullivan, 32 percent of cases today were in the 18-24 range.
Sullivan said some people have become reassured that the pandemic is almost over due to the drop in case numbers before the appearance of the Delta variant, but he urges people to recognize the situation for what it is — concerning.
“Clearly we have a variant of concern, of grave concern, affecting us right now” Sullivan said. “The question becomes, ‘What’s the next variant? How can we stop this transmission?’”
Sullivan said the same precautions from the past year and a half will help stop the spread of COVID-19.
“Our take-home message really is, we know what works, we know masking works. That’s a strong recommendation,” Sullivan said. “Social [distance] as able and, obviously, vaccines, vaccines, vaccines.”

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  • Dr. Seth Sullivan addresses the media during a press conference held at the Brazos County Health Department on the afternoon of Thursday, July 29. 

  • Dr. Seth Sullivan addresses the media during a press conference held at the Brazos County Health Department on the afternoon of Thursday, July 29. 

  • Dr. Seth Sullivan addresses the media during a press conference held at the Brazos County Health Department on the afternoon of Thursday, July 29. 

  • Dr. Seth Sullivan addresses the media during a press conference held at the Brazos County Health Department on the afternoon of Thursday, July 29. 

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