What is the Delta Variant?
The Delta Variant, otherwise known as B.1.617.2, contains mutations on the spike protein that allow it to infect human cells more easily. It is more contagious than other COVID-19 variants and is now the dominant strain in the U.S.
What are the Symptoms of the Delta Variant?
Symptoms of the Delta virus are cough, runny nose, headache, fever, and sore throat. Cough and loss of smell appear to be less common in the Delta variant than in others.
Who is at Highest Risk of Contracting the Delta Variant?
According to Yale Medicine and the CDC, unvaccinated individuals are at the highest risk of contracting the Delta variant and being hospitalized due to it.
Are Vaccinated Individuals Protected?
While we are still learning about the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines in preventing the Delta variant, an article by WebMD states that in a preliminary analysis, “two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine appeared to be about 88% effective against disease and 96% effective against hospitalization with the Delta variant.”
Is the Delta Variant the only COVID-19 variant?
Unfortunately, no. A few other COVID-19 variants discovered include the Alpha Variant, the Epsilon Variant, and the Lambda Variant. These variants have all been downgraded from “variant of concern” to “variant of interest” due to a declining number of cases. As of right now, the Delta Variant and its sub-variant, Delta-Plus, are the only “variants of concern.”
How do we stop the spread?
The best thing we can do to stop the spread is to encourage widespread vaccination. As of right now, 48.3% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated. Researchers have estimated that anywhere from 60-85% of the U.S. population will need to be vaccinated to achieve herd immunity.