Does the Covid Delta Variant Cause More Serious Illness?

01 November, 2021

Every day, people all over the world are getting sick with the COVID-19 virus. The CDC does not know why this is happening, but they have identified some new strains that seem to be more infectious than others. One of these variants is called Delta COVID-19. This variant seems to cause more serious illness in both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals. We will explore how much more contagious it is compared to other strains of COVID-19, what symptoms it causes in infected individuals who were vaccinated for this strain before infection occurred, and whether or not it does indeed pose a greater danger than other variants of the virus.

What is a Variant of Concern?

The term “Variant of Concern” is used by the CDC as a classifications applied to variants—one of four. From most benign to most dangerous, variants are classified as follows: Variants Being Monitored (VBM), Variant of Interest (VOI), Variant of Concern (VOC), & Variant of High Consequence (VOHC).

Currently, all other Covid-19 variants are classified as Variants Being Monitored (VBM). Delta, however, is classified, as a Variant of Concern (VOC). What does this mean? Well, the CDC describes such variants as strains with evidence that they’re more transmissible, that cause more severe disease, which are not easily neutralized through antibodies from previous infection or vaccination, or that have failures in diagnostic detection. VBMs are monitored by federal agencies, but VOCs are closely monitored.

How much more contagious is the Delta variant of COVID-19?

Early this year, the Delta variant surfaced in the United States. Delta was first observed in India and then Great Britain, both of which it swept through before reaching North America. The SARS coronavirus has evolved into COVID-19’s most common form, accounting for more than 99% of COVID-19 cases and resulting in an unprecedented rise in hospitalizations in several states.

The Delta variant is now considered to be more than twice as contagious as previous strains, and studies have shown that it may be more likely than the original virus to land sick individuals in hospital. Those who are not immunized are the most vulnerable, and the highest levels of cases and severe outcomes are occurring in places where the population is under-vaccinated (Yale Medicine).

According to the CDC, the Delta variant of COVID-19 is more contagious than previous ones we’ve encountered. They tell us that “the Delta variant is highly contagious, more than 2x as contagious as previous variants” (CDC).

What symptoms does Delta cause & who does it affect?

In a UC Davis article, we learn that the Delta variant of COVID-19 appears to have the same symptoms as the original version—according to current reports. Delta causes individuals to become sicker faster, especially among younger populations—physicians tell UC Davis.

A Yale medicine article seems to back this claim up, quoting Dr. Yildirim who mentions that younger unvaccinated people will be at a higher risk for all variants as older people get vaccinated—highlighting that Delta has had a bigger impact on young people than previous variants of Covid-19.

What are some symptoms of the COVID-19 Delta variant in vaccinated individuals?

Typically, vaccinated people are either asymptomatic or have very mild symptoms if they contract the Delta variant. Their symptoms are more like those of a common cold, such as cough, fever or headache, with the addition of significant loss of smell (UC Davis Health).

COVID-19 vaccines are slightly less effective against the variants, according to research. Even so, the vaccinations appear to provide protection against severe cases of COVID-19—such as those brought on by the Delta variant.

Is The Delta Variant More Dangerous?

Overall, the evidence seems to suggest: yes. It is less protected by vaccines and is linked to more hospitalizations when compared to previous variants—especially among the unvaccinated.

So, what can you do?

Well, get vaccinated! And try to hang out with other vaccinated folks if you can! To strengthen protection against COVID-19 and the delta variant, the CDC recommends additional doses and booster doses of COVID-19 vaccines.

Frequent testing also helps! PCR tests are preferable, since results can tell you which variant of Covid-19—if any— is detected,

To get a free PCR test with Alliance, select your closest location and stop by today!

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