In December 2020, a new COVID-19 variant was found in India. Now, as of June 2021, just six months after the discovery of the Delta Variant, it is the dominant strain in both India and the United Kingdom.
Some key factors to know about the delta variant, also known as B1617.2, are the following:
- It’s a fast spreader
- As of June 14, 2021, the B1617.2 has already reached 74 countries
- It’s more transmissible than previous COVID-19 variants
- It is believed to be anywhere from 30% – 100% more infectious than the original alpha virus
- Younger people are more affected
- In the UK, studies have shown that children and adults under the age of 50 are two and a half times more likely to contract the B1617.2 variant
- Symptoms are more severe
- Early studies suggest that the delta variant may double the risk of hospitalization. In China, doctors report more severe symptoms and are showing consistent signs of going downhill more quickly.
- Top symptoms reported are:
- Sore throat
- Runny Nose
Coughing is showing to be less common, as well as the lost of smell and taste. Since the top symptoms of the B1617.2 variant can be mistaken for a cold or allergies, quarantine is being avoided and therefore the variant is spreading quicker. It is suggested that if you have any of the symptoms above, to quarantine yourself right away and get tested for COVID. CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky is worried that the new Delta Variant could become the dominant strain the U.S. and cause a surge in cases in the fall. Currently, the variant makes up about ten percent of COVID-19 cases in the U.S.so far and has been detected in 45 states, with the most cases being seen in the Midwest.
Young people may be affected for two main reasons:
- They’re more likely to be socially active
- They’re less likely to be vaccinated
In the United States, fewer adults under the age of 50 have been vaccinated than those over 50.
How Should You Protect Yourself?
Getting vaccinated is your best defense against COVID-19 and the delta variant. Reports have shown that both the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine & the AstraZeneca vaccine are successful in preventing hospitalization due to the B1617.2 variant and no deaths have been reported. This data is among those who are fully vaccinated. Emerging research suggests that a single vaccine does doesn’t protect as well to the Delta variant compared to other strains. The Pfizer vaccine is showing to be 88% effective once fully vaccinated.
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