Kathryn “Drummer Katt” Pitts, radio personality and the president of KDEE 97.5 FM’s Street Team survived a bout with the Deviant variant of COVID-19. Fully recovered, Pitts is still telling members of the Black community to get tested and vaccinated. Antonio R. Harvey, OBSERVER

By Antonio R. Harvey | OBSERVER Staff Writer

Kathryn “Drummer Katt” Pitts, radio personality and the marketing/promotion president for radio station KDEE 97.5 FM Street Team, checked into a local hospital for a simple procedure.

Within three days Ms. Pitts was told she had contracted the highly contagious Delta variant of the COVID-19 virus. 

The event presenter and judge for the Sacramento’s Got Talent competition told the OBSERVER she has been fully vaccinated since February.

“Please get tested and get vaccinated,” Ms. Pitts warned Sacramento’s Black community. “You don’t want to be laid up in a hospital bed like I was, believing that you’ll never leave. I recovered but felt that I was never going to leave. (The Delta variant) is real.”

Ms. Pitts said she now has chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and is prescribed oxygen therapy. She walks around with an oxygen tank that feeds a long plastic tube into her nose.

Delta is currently the predominant variant of the virus in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It is highly contagious, more than two times as contagious as previous variants.

Accompanied by her brother, Ms. Pitts checked into the hospital July 13. When she was having an issue breathing she was told the symptoms were closely related to another infection.

“They first told me that it was pneumonia because they didn’t know what the Delta variant looked like,” Ms. Pitts said. “They did tell me that two other people in respiratory care had come down with the ‘phony pneumonia’ as well. But it was a real Delta variant, and they think I got it while I was in the hospital.”

Due to the continued day-over-day case rate increases of COVID-19 from the Delta variant, the Sacramento County Public Health Officer on July 29 issued a health order requiring masking indoors regardless of vaccination status.

“The continued increase in cases is concerning – universal indoor use of masks is the least disruptive and most immediately impactful measure to take to slow the rate of transmission,” said Public Health Officer Olivia Kasirye. “Our best protection against COVID-19 continues to be the vaccine. We urge all eligible residents to get vaccinated in order to protect themselves, and their family and friends.”

Some data, CDC reports, suggest the Delta variant might cause more severe illness than previous variants in unvaccinated people. The greatest risk of transmission is among unvaccinated people, who are much more likely to get infected, CDC stated.

What Ms. Pitts learned in the hospital: fully vaccinated people with Delta variant infections can spread the virus to others. Vaccinated people appear to spread the virus for a shorter time, CDC reported.

Ms. Pitts was released from the hospital July 31 but was quarantined for an additional 15 days. She is vaccinated and emphasized that everyone should be vaccinated with the third shot.

The COVID-19 booster shot is the third dose of a vaccine given after the protection provided by the original inoculation has begun to decrease over time.

The CDC said the booster shot is “highly effective” in reducing the risk of severe disease, hospitalization, and death, even against the widely circulating Delta variant.

“I got my first shot for vaccination in February and the second one in March. I had the Pfizer dose,” Ms. Pitts said. “But then I understand that it was so early (when I got the first shots) that no one knew that we would need a booster shot. I’m telling everyone to get your booster shot.”