The new coronavirus Delta variant is the latest rapid spread variant of the virus and has many countries worried as it continues to spread.
The Delta variant, formally known as B.1.617.2, first emerged in India in October 2020 and has since been reported in more than 50 countries around the world. Scientists are increasingly concerned about the Delta variant’s potential to cause more severe illnesses, reinfection and reduce vaccine effectiveness. Here, we’ll explore what the Delta variant is, what makes it so dangerous, the possible impacts of the variant, and how people can protect themselves.
What is the Delta variant of the coronavirus?
The Delta variant – formally known as B.1.617.2 – is an emerging variant of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. It is distinct from the other dominant variants, Alpha and Beta, and was first detected in India in October 2020. The variant has since been detected in more than 50 countries.
What is unique about the Delta variant?
The Delta variant contains 23 changes to its genetic makeup compared to the original SARS-CoV-2 virus, as well as several additional mutations not seen in the other variants. This has led experts to believe that the Delta variant is more contagious than other strains.
What makes the Delta variant so dangerous?
The Delta variant is the most contagious mutation of the virus and is spreading rapidly. It has been reported to be up to 60-90 percent more transmissible than the original virus, according to recent estimates. Additionally, some studies have suggested that the Delta variant exhibits an increased ability to cause severe illness, although more research is needed to confirm this. There is also some evidence that the variant may be able to reinfect individuals who have already had COVID-19.
Another key concern is the impact of the Delta variant on current vaccines. Recent studies suggest that both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines may be less effective against the Delta variant, indicating a possible need for booster shots and new vaccines.
What are the possible impacts of the Delta variant?
Due to its increased transmissibility, the Delta variant is likely to cause a surge in COVID-19 cases in areas where it has become dominant. This could lead to additional hospitalizations, as well as more deaths, due to the Delta variant’s ability to cause more severe illness. Additionally, if the Delta variant does reduce vaccine effectiveness, this could impede progress towards achieving herd immunity.
How can people protect themselves from the Delta variant?
Despite the current concerns surrounding the Delta variant, there are still some things that people can do to protect themselves from infection.
Get Vaccinated: Even if the Delta variant is shown to reduce the efficacy of current vaccines, it is still important to get vaccinated if one is eligible. Vaccines remain the best way to protect oneself from infection and should be taken as soon as possible.
Wear a Mask: Wearing a mask in public places is one of the best ways to limit the spread of infection. Recent studies have shown the Delta variant to spread more easily than its Alpha and Beta counterparts, making masks even more important.
Practice Social Distancing: Social distancing is a key way to reduce your risk of becoming infected with COVID-19. Although it may be difficult for some, it is important to keep a minimum distance of 6 feet from others whenever possible.
Wash Your Hands: Maintaining proper hand hygiene is one of the most effective ways to protect yourself from the coronavirus. During this time, it is important to make sure to wash your hands regularly with soap and water.
Avoid Congregating: It is best to limit gatherings with people outside of your own household. The Delta variant is more contagious and can spread quickly, especially in large gatherings of people.
Overall, the Delta variant is a cause for concern as it appears to be more contagious and more likely to cause severe cases of COVID-19. It is important to stay vigilant and take the necessary steps to protect oneself. Vaccination when possible is the best way to protect yourself and remain safe in light of the Delta variant.