The delta variant of COVID-19 is super spreading and upending the lives of many once again. This variant was initially identified in December 2020 in India. Currently, it represents in excess of eighty-three percent of all new cases within the United States as stated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Increasing the overall rates of cases and placing a strain on the medical industry, in particular the hospitals. Below is what individuals need to know regarding the differences and similarities of the dominant Delta variant.
Delta Is More Infectious
The most troublesome feature of the Delta variant is the fact it spreads so much easier than the earlier variants. One individual with the initial virus would have infected 2.5 other individuals on average. Whereas those with the Delta variant have been reported to infect five to eight other individuals. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the variant is considered as contagious as chickenpox and even more transmissible than the common cold, SARS, MERS, Ebola, smallpox, and the flu virus.
Delta Variant Will Spur Additional Breakthrough Infections
According to data, those that are vaccinated are still very likely to become ill from the virus, however, they are more likely to become infected from it than from the previous variants. The infections contracted by vaccinated individuals are considered breakthrough infections. At present, breakthrough infections only represent approximately 0.01 percent of all the infections of COVID-19. This proportion is not likely to change, however, as overall infections continue to increase, so will the spillover into vaccinated individuals.
Vaccines Are Still Able To Protect Individuals
The data that is available is still preliminary, however; thus far, it appears as if the two doses from the Pfizer mRNA vaccine are approximately eighty-eight percent effective in safeguarding against the symptoms of COVID-19. This figure is a reduction of seven percent from ninety-five percent cited from earlier variants. However, this number is still relatively high. The Vaccine from Moderna is also quite effective against the Delta variant and might even be higher than Pfizer. The Johnson & Johnson one-shot vaccine is less effective against the Delta variant; however, it is still very effective at preventing hospitalizations and even death.
Each Person will Possibly Require Boosters Eventually
During the month of August 2021, the Food and Drug Administration approved an emergency use authorization for individuals to receive the third shot of Moderna and Pfizer. This was for individuals with weakened immune systems, which included individuals that received organ transplants. Individuals that are immunocompromised do not react as well to vaccines and are at a greater risk of severe illnesses or even death from COVID-19. The booster shot might provide the immunocompromised individual a similar level of protection as a non-compromised immune system. More help might be on its way for this particular group. There is a phase 2 trial of the COVID-19 vaccine, that is specially targeted towards those that have less robust immune systems.
Delta Variant Does Not Make Individuals Sicker
Several studies have touted that the Delta variant makes individuals sicker with more being hospitalized than with the initial virus. However, others have contradicted this idea. The reason that there are more hospitalizations is that there are more cases. The Delta variant appears to manufacture identical systems as the previous virus. Such as congestion, headaches, loss of smell and taste, difficulty breathing, cough and fever, and chills. As with the prior mutations, individuals that have been vaccinated typically have symptoms that are milder.
Delta Hits Children Hard
A study discovered that positive COVID-19 tests for children between the ages of five and twelve years old appear to be driving the numbers up for the Delta variant. This is possibly a factor in the rapid spread of the virus, instead of any particular mutation geared towards children. Also, there is no vaccine approved for children at this stage.
Fully Vaccinated Individuals Could Still Transmit The Delta Variant
As a matter of fact, these individuals might be even more infectious given the fact that viral loads from the Delta variant might be as much as 1000 times higher. As compared to the prior variants. The Delta variant has amplified the quantity of virus which appears in the nose and throat. This is true for both unvaccinated and vaccinated individuals.