The Delta variant is currently the greatest threat in the United States. In March, Delta was first identified in the United States. The COVID-19 Delta variant may become the most dominant variant worldwide. The World Health Organization (WHO) says it has been detected in 92 countries.
The CDC and WHO closely monitor the variants to find out if transmission could lead to a surge in COVID-19 cases and deaths. They also monitor the current vaccines to make sure can provide protection with the new variants.
The U.S. classifies new variants as one of the following:
1. “Variant of interest” – may lead to outbreaks but isn’t widespread in the country.
2. “Variant of concern” – shows evidence of increased transmission and more severe disease.
3. “Variant of high consequence” – makes vaccines and treatments much less likely to work well.
The U.S. has not classified any variants as “high consequence,” but numerous strains have been labeled as “variants of concern”. In mid-June, the CDC labeled Delta as “a variant of concern”.
What is the Delta Variant?
According to the CDC, the Delta variant (B.1.617.2) can spread more easily. The strain has mutations on the spike protein that make it easier to infect human cells.
Researchers have said that the Delta variant is about 50% more contagious than the Alpha variant, according to The Washington Post.
Public health experts estimate that when a person gets infected with Delta, they spread it to three or four other people, compared with one or two other people through the original coronavirus strain, according to Yale Medicine. The Delta variant may also be able to escape protection from vaccines and some COVID-19 treatments, though studies are still ongoing.
5 things you need to know about the COVID-19 Delta variant:
1. Delta is more contagious than the other virus strains. WHO has called this version of the virus the fastest and fittest.
2. Unvaccinated people are most at risk.
3. Delta could lead to local outbreaks. It could depend on where you live and how many people in the region are vaccinated.
4. There is still more to learn about Delta. Does the Delta strain make you sicker? How Delta affects the body?
5. Vaccination is the best protection against Delta.
What are the Symptoms?
Symptoms of the Delta variant are similar to those seen with the original coronavirus strain and other variants, including a persistent cough, headache, fever, and sore throat.
COVID-19 patients in the U.K. said that some symptoms are slightly different for Delta, cough and loss of smell seem to be less common. Headache, sore throat, runny nose, and fever seem to be more common.
Is the Delta Variant More Deadly?
Scientists are still tracking the data to determine how deadly the COVID-19 Delta variant is. Based on hospitalizations in the U.K., the Delta variant leads to more hospitalizations and deaths, particularly among unvaccinated people, according to a recent study published in The Lancet.
What Does the Delta Variant Mean for the Unvaccinated?
People who haven’t been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 are most at risk. In the U.S., communities with low vaccination rates have seen a jump in cases.