It is normal and expected for viruses to change slightly through mutation as they circulate among human populations. On occasion, these slight variations in the virus may result in changes to how the virus interacts with human hosts. Most of the time, these variations are not concerning. Occasionally, however, a variant strain emerges that is more transmissible, causes a more severe illness, or may be more resistant to currently available vaccines. These variants are categorized by the US CDC as (a) variants of interest; (b) variants of concern; or (c) variants of high consequence.
About the Delta variant:
- A “variant of high concern” is now the most prominent strain of COVID-19 in the United States and will soon be the dominant strain throughout the globe.
- The Delta variant accounts for nearly 88% of all COVID cases in the State of Indiana as of August 4, 2021.
- The Delta variant is significantly more contagious than earlier strains of the COVID-19 virus, may be more resistant to monoclonal antibody treatments used for COVID patients, and may cause more severe illness. For perspective, according to the CDC, the Delta variant is more transmissible than the viruses that cause the common cold, the seasonal flu, and smallpox, and it is as contagious as chickenpox.
- The Delta variant may also be transmitted among both vaccinated and unvaccinated populations.
- Importantly, current evidence suggests that vaccinations are highly effective in preventing serious illness, hospitalization, and death from Delta variant COVID-19.
Due to the extremely high rate of transmissibility, the COVID-19 Delta variant is of particular concern to those who are unvaccinated.
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