ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -- As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, questions remain about breakthrough cases and the rise in positive cases among younger populations.
Dr. John O'Horo with the Mayo Clinic agrees with what we are seeing all over the headlines: the Delta Variant is currently the primary source of COVID-19 cases in the United States.
"Although we're in a fourth wave of this, the vaccine effectiveness is going to make this less severe for the hospitalizations than prior waves," O'Horo said.
As the race to get Americans vaccinated continues, health experts are seeing the Delta Variant infecting younger people than previous variants.
"It's not entirely clear if that's because this variant is more infectious to the younger people or, more likely, because we vaccinated a large number of older people so the most susceptible tend to be younger," O'Horo said.
Break through cases in vaccinated people are still very rare, so, Mayo Clinic says this shouldn't deter people from getting the COVID-19 vaccine.
"And even though people who are vaccinated can still get infected and can still potentially transmit to others, they do that at a far lower rate and are far, far less likely to end up hospitalized or having a complication because of COVID-19," O'Horo said.
The overall goal for health officials right now is to get more people vaccianted.
"In terms of mandates for vaccines, what really is important is any kind of strategy that helps improve vaccination rates is desirable at this point," O'Horo said. "Whether the vaccine mandates are going to be the most effective way to do that has a lot to do with local and specific business trends. Like we've seen this take off in healthcare with moves like mandatory participation at Mayo Clinic."
O'Horo says we can bring down the rate of positive cases by getting vaccinated and continued mask use, especially in high transmission areas, regardless of vaccination status.
"With the vaccine, we really do have a light at the end of this particular tunnel and are closer to the end of this pandemic than the beginning," O'Horo said.
O'Horo says this latest surge is far from over and expects it to remain a concern for the next several weeks before we start to see a decline, just as many kids and teachers start to head back to school.