The Delta Variant: What You Need to Know
Throughout the COVID-19 Pandemic, we have seen several strains of the virus develop and cause trouble in many areas around the world. The latest of these strains to make headlines is the Delta Variant.
First detected in India in late 2020, the Delta variant has since contributed to a high number of cases during the country’s 2nd wave of COVID-19. It has also taken a hold of the UK, accounting for 91% of their COVID-19 cases. The first Delta case in the United States was detected and diagnosed in March 2021. So far, it has infected people in 98 countries.
What makes The Delta variant concerning? This strain is said to be 40% more transmissible than the Alpha variant. It has been labeled by the World Health Organization as “the fastest and fittest” variant so far.
Another thing to note about this strain is how it is associated with slightly different symptoms. Cough and loss of smell aren’t symptoms that come up very much with this variant. What it seems to do is manifest itself in the form of a headache, followed by a sore throat, a runny nose, and fever. According to a study published in The Lancet on June 2021, the Delta variant doubles the risk of hospitalization compared with the Alpha variant.
In recent weeks, there has also been some buzz regarding the Delta Plus variant, which has been detected in over 10 countries so far. This new variant is suspected to have increased transmissibility, stronger binding to receptors of lung cells, and potential reduction in monoclonal antibody response.
As long as herd immunity isn’t achieved, more strains like the Delta variant are expected to develop. This is why it is important to keep your guard up, even when already fully vaccinated. This means wearing masks whenever you go out, social distancing, and washing your hands after going out. Even if the vaccine grants you protection, it won’t prevent you from becoming a carrier and infecting other people. It’s going to be quite a while more before we can truly say the pandemic is over, so for now, let’s do our part.