A major concern right now is Delta, a highly contagious SARS-CoV-2 virus strain, which was first identified in India in December. This strain spread rapidly, soon becoming the dominant strain of the virus in both India and then Great Britain.
The delta variant, which has further mutated into the delta plus, has 60% higher transmissibility rate than the original alpha variant. Delta has now spread to 92 countries. This is one of the mutations that contributed to the loss of response to some antibodies, including those produced by the vaccines. Delta is less sensitive than alpha to antibodies.
With the rapid spread of the delta variant in the United States, coronavirus cases are spiking in parts of the country, especially in areas with low COVID-19 vaccination rates. Almost all COVID-19 deaths in the United States are now among the unvaccinated people’s.
The two doses of vaccine provide much better protection than one dose against the delta variant. Children under 18 years old are not yet eligible for vaccination, which leaves them at risk. Anyone who is unvaccinated and not practicing preventive strategies is at risk for infection by the new variant, the doctors say.
The real risk is when you consider the broader population, where many people are either unvaccinated or only have one dose of the vaccine, combined with delta’s higher transmissibility and disease severity. The delta has high levels of transmission combined with a partially vaccinated population which increases the risk of more people catching the virus and increase the risk of further mutations.
The highly contagious delta variant is the fastest and fittest coronavirus strain yet, and it will “pick off” the most vulnerable people, especially in places with low Covid-19 vaccination rates, WHO said. Many mutations do nothing or actually hinder the virus.
Delta, first identified in India, has the potential “to be more lethal because it’s more efficient in the way it transmits between humans and it will eventually find those vulnerable individuals who will become severely ill, have to be hospitalized and potentially die,” Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of the WHO’s said during a news conference.
The most important thing you can do to protect yourself from Delta is to get fully vaccinated.