The news has been talking a lot about the Delta Variant of COVID-19, but what is it exactly? A variant is when a virus changes and sticks around. Some variants will spread more easily or resist certain treatments or vaccines. Since the Delta variant was discovered and started spreading, it is causing more than 83% of COVID-19 cases reported in the U.S. There’s a lot of information out there about the Delta variant, but here are some fast facts to know.
1. The Delta variant spreads more easily than other variants of COVID-19
The Delta variant is different from other variants because of how quickly it spreads. The first case was found in December 2020, but it quickly became the most common strain in India and Great Britain. As of July, the CDC estimates that Delta was the cause of more than 80% of new U.S. COVID-19 cases. This shows how quickly this variant is spreading compared to other variants of COVID-19.
2. The Delta variant affects unvaccinated people more than vaccinated people.
According to the CDC, the highest spread of cases and worst outcomes is happening in places with low vaccination rates. Most of the patients hospitalized at UC Davis Medical Center are people who have not received the COVID-19 vaccine. In areas with lower vaccination rates, there are higher rates of COVID-19 infection rates. This shows us that it is important to get vaccinated as soon as possible.
3. The CDC updated their masking guidelines because of the spread of the Delta variant.
New CDC data shows that vaccinated people can also spread the Delta variant of COVID-19. For other variants, this did not really happen, so that’s why the CDC changed mask guidelines. The CDC is now recommending wearing a mask indoors or in public, even for vaccinated people. It’s important to follow changing guidelines because we are always learning more information, especially about new variants like the Delta variant.
4. The vaccine provides protection against the Delta variant.
Both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine provide protection against the Delta variant, and are good at preventing hospitalization and death. Both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines provide almost 100% protection. While the Delta variant produces the same amount of virus in vaccinated and unvaccinated people, the amount of virus goes down faster in vaccinated people. This means vaccinated people are infectious for less time than unvaccinated people.
Written by Rafia, Sick Cells Medical Writer Intern and second year medical student
The CDC and SCDAA MARAC recommend that all sickle cell warriors receive a COVID-19 vaccination. The vaccines are a safe and effective way to protect SCD warriors and their families against COVID-19.