Knowing the COVID-19 Delta Variant
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to be a significant issue throughout the world, forcing healthcare professionals to keep a regular watch on current and potential coronavirus mutations and variants. It is possible that these variants can be more infectious than the original strain. By adapting and evolving, viruses can change regularly, and variants occur when more than one mutation differs from each other.
There is regular monitoring of these "variations" by the World Health Organization and the Centre for Disease Control and Protection to check whether the transmission could increase cases and deaths and whether the current vaccines offer protection. The United States has classified these variants as:
1. The Variant of Interest: Variant that may cause outbreaks and is not common in the country.
2. The Variant of Concern: Variant that shows evidence of increased transmission and more severe disease.
3. The Variant of High Consequence: Variant that reduces the effectiveness of vaccines and treatment.
Delta and other Variants of COVID-19
1. Delta Variant: First reported in India and is now found in more than 100 countries.
2. The Alpha variant: First reported in the United Kingdom, has been reported from as many as 178 countries and still has the most significant footprint.
3. The Beta variant: First reported in South Africa, has a presence in 123 countries now.
4. The Gamma variant: The fourth variant of concern, as identified by the WHO, is present in at least 75 countries.
Many strains, which need to be followed closely, have been categorized as "Variants of Concern." Due to the rapid increase in COVID-19 cases worldwide, the Delta variant has become the hot topic in the past month.
What is the Delta Variant?
According to the Centre for Disease Control & Protection, the Delta Variant strain, which spreads rapidly, is also known as B.1.617.2 and has mutations on protein spike, thus making it easy to infect the human cells. The strain is currently the dominant strain in the United States. On average, a person infected with Delta involves three or four other people compared to the original coronavirus strain and may be able to escape protection from vaccines and COVID-19 treatments. Mutations that play an essential role in the Delta variant are:
Many researchers say that the Delta Variant, as compared to the Alpha Variant, is 50% more infectious. According to the Washington Post, The Alpha variant, which was first reported in the U.K., is also known as B.1.1.7 and was already 50% more infectious than the original coronavirus reported from China in 2019.
Where did the Delta variant come from?
The Delta variant of COVID-19 was first reported from the Vidarbha region of the Indian state of Maharashtra in December 2020. According to the Centre for Disease Control and Protection's tracker, it is now in more than 100 countries. The World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus says, "among the identified variants reported so far, the Delta Variant is the most transmissible and spreads rapidly among unvaccinated populations."
According to the World Health Organization, during the first two weeks of July, the Delta variant was found in at least 15 new countries and became more dominant in the United States, U.K., and Germany.
Several studies report hearing impairment, severe gastrointestinal issues, and blood clots leading to tissue death and gangrene as severe Delta Variant symptoms.
People who are not vaccinated make up most of the COVID-19 deaths and hospitalizations in the United States. The Director for the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention has strongly warned that "this is going to become the pandemic of the unvaccinated."
The United States is witnessing a sharp surge in cases and hospitalization, mainly where vaccinations are low. The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, on July 16, 2021, reported a 7-day average increase in 69.3% new COVID-19 cases and a 35% increase in hospitalizations. The low vaccination rates and increased stress levels in hospitals are significantly affecting patient care and disease outcomes.
Steps that can help prevent the transmission of Delta Variant of COVID-19
- Don't go out unnecessarily
- Always wear a face mask when you are moving out.
- Wash your hands properly with sanitizer and soap before leaving and entering the house.
- Do not miss your vaccination dose and take the vaccine to keep yourself and your family safe.
- Maintain social distancing. Do not touch your eyes, nose, and mouth without washing your hands.
- Isolate yourself from your family immediately if you have any COVID-19 symptoms and report to a doctor immediately.
- Always keep observation for headache, sore throat, and runny nose which are the major symptoms of the delta variant.
To know more about the Delta Variant and other variants of COVID-19, signup for the below eMedEvents conferences, webcasts, and podcasts:
1. Through the Lens of COVID-19- How We Recognize and Defend Ourselves from Viral Pathogens
Organizer: Cleveland Clinic Centre for Continuing Education
Start Date: Mar 05, 2021 End Date: Mar 05, 2023
Credits: CME 1 MOC 1
Ticket Cost: Free
2. Emerging Respiratory Viruses, Including COVID-19
Organizer: X-Ray Lady
Start Date: May 05, 2020 End Date: Jan 31, 2023
Credits: CE 1.25
Ticket Cost: Free