LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Expect busy weekends in the Las Vegas valley during the month of July with people coming into town for concerts, expos, and the Fourth of July holiday. All of this at a time when the Delta variant is rapidly spreading in Nevada.
“The Delta variant spreads more easily between people," said Dr. Brian Labus, a UNLV health professor.
"It doesn’t seem to cause higher rates of hospitalization and death," he explained. "It basically causes the same disease, but it spreads more rapidly between people so that’s why we’re seeing more."
Data from the Nevada State Public Health Lab shows the Delta variant making up 46% of cases it analyzed in the last two weeks. That’s up from 16%.
Dr. Labus says this isn’t unexpected.
“It’s essentially a competition between those strains to infect people and the one that spreads easiest is quickly going to become the dominant strain,” he said.
He says the latest spike in COVID-19 cases is reflective of the state reopening on June 1.
“It’s basically a combination of the Delta variant and the changes in our behavior that allow for more transmission and that’s why we’re seeing more disease,” Dr. Labus said.
He says those attending large events should consider getting the shot, and masking up wouldn’t hurt those who are vaccinated.
“The vaccine gives you the best possible protection. The mask might give you a little protection on top of that for any breakthrough disease or something like that.”
He says Nevada has historically been hesitant of any vaccine. Dr. Labus wants to put concerns at ease saying the COVID-19 vaccines remain highly effective against any variant of the virus and is key to curbing the spread of the Delta variant.
“That is the best possible way to protect yourself and that’s what everybody should be doing to help control this pandemic.”
The governor’s office along with the Southern Nevada Health District are redoubling their “Get Out The Vaccine” efforts in the midst of this current spike in cases.
Unfortunately, security threats against these big events are also back. Las Vegas Metropolitan Police saying it’s aware and investigating social media threats made against the Illenium and Excision concerts, scheduled for this weekend.
Both artists acknowledging the threats on Twitter saying they are working with authorities and putting safety first.
Security expert Adam Coughran isn’t surprised to see this.
“In recent years and even before the pandemic, there are always threats to large gatherings. There are always threats to large events,” he said.
Coughran says any possible threat reported is thoroughly vetted by police.
“We are long past the days of someone being upset or they’re angry or they’re venting. Every threat is now taken seriously, and it’s taken as credible,” he said.
Coughran says many threats that come out are meant to stir fear.
“The majority of people making these threats, that’s sometimes part of the motivation is to deter people from going or to keep people home or to make people afraid.”
He says securing a venue space like a stadium requires checking people before they enter.
“Make sure they have a ticket. A lot of folks are going through metal detectors to make sure they’re not bringing weapons into the venue and making sure we're spot-checking and checking throughout the venue.”
Coughran says people should still be able to attend events but also be vigilant of their surroundings. He says most of all, if they see something, say something.
“I overheard someone say this or this person left a bag behind and just walked away. Everyone really takes part in these types of events to ensure the safety and security of everybody.”
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