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What to Know About the Delta Variant

While many viruses have variants, we are quickly learning why that sometimes isn’t a good thing.

“Variant of Interest
A variant with specific genetic markers that have been associated with changes to receptor binding, reduced neutralization by antibodies generated against previous infection or vaccination, reduced efficacy of treatments, potential diagnostic impact, or predicted increase in transmissibility or disease severity.”

In addition to several variants of interest, there are now also many variants of concern circulating in the United States right now.

“Variant of Concern
A variant for which there is evidence of an increase in transmissibility, more severe disease (e.g., increased hospitalizations or deaths), significant reduction in neutralization by antibodies generated during previous infection or vaccination, reduced effectiveness of treatments or vaccines, or diagnostic detection failures.”

SARS-CoV-2 Variant Classifications and Definitions

Unfortunately, the Delta variant, which you have almost certainly heard about by now as it makes up over 60% of the circulating SARS-CoV-2 virus strains in the United States

And yes, it is a variant of concern.

What to Know About the Delta Variant

Why are so many people talking about the Delta variant?

COVID variants are not caused by vaccines.
COVID variants are not caused by vaccines.

The SARS-CoV-2 Delta variant (B.1.617.2), which has been circulating in the United States since March 2021, has about 15 spike protein substitutions that allow it to have:

  • increased transmissibility – meaning it is more contagious and can spread two to three times faster than the original SARS-CoV-2 virus
  • a potential reduction in neutralization by some EUA monoclonal antibody treatments – so it could be harder to treat.
  • a potential reduction in neutralization by post-vaccination sera – so our current COVID vaccines might not be as effective, although mRNA vaccines are still very effective against this variant

In a few months, favorable mutations have helped the Delta variant to become the dominant SARS-CoV-2 strain in the United States and many other countries.

s with the Delta variant are rising in areas with low vaccination rates.
COVID cases with the Delta variant are rising in areas with low vaccination rates.

The dominant variant, as COVID cases, hospitalizations, and deaths are once again on the rise in many areas.

“There is a clear message that is coming through: This is becoming a pandemic of the unvaccinated. We are seeing outbreaks of cases in parts of the country that have low vaccination coverage because unvaccinated people are at risk. And communities that are fully vaccinated are generally faring well.”

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Rochelle Walensky

And those who are unvaccinated are most at risk, as we are seeing few breakthrough infections.

“The good news is that if you are fully vaccinated, you are protected against severe COVID, hospitalization, and death, and are even protected against the known variants — including the Delta variant — circulating in the country.

If you are not vaccinated, you remain at risk. And our biggest concern is that we are going to continue to see preventable cases, hospitalizations, and, sadly, deaths among the unvaccinated.”

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Rochelle Walensky

Get vaccinated and get protected against COVID and the Delta variant!

Kids and the Delta Variant

What does the Delta variant mean for kids?

If your child is old enough to be vaccinated, the Delta variant is simply another good reason to get them vaccinated and protected!

For younger kids who can’t yet be vaccinated, those under age 12 years, since the Delta variant is more contagious, continue to work to avoid their being exposed to SARS-CoV-2 by encouraging them to wear a mask, practice social distancing, and washing their hands, etc.

And encourage everyone else in your community to get their COVID vaccines, as these variants won’t continue to take hold if enough people are vaccinated and protected!

More on the Delta Variant

8 thoughts on “What to Know About the Delta Variant”

  1. Variant? I barely touched her. By the way, my unicorn produced a variant yesterday. That is dangerous too – so long as I believe. And one more thing, please do tell about the Covid death rates among the Amish – those people know how to mask up, and take their shots!

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