The Delta variant of the COVID-19 virus has emerged as a major concern in the pandemic. This variant spreads more easily between people, increasing the rate of transmission. It also tends to cause more severe symptoms in infected individuals, and higher hospitalization rates.
What caused the Delta variant?
Much like other variants of the COVID-19 virus, the Delta variant was caused through mutation. This is regular behavior for a virus that continues to spread. Some variants last longer than others, depending on their severity. Many variants of the COVID-19 virus are currently being tracked and monitored. The Delta variant is of particular concern now because it tends to cause more severe symptoms. It is also a concern because of how quickly it spreads.
I’m fully vaccinated. Do I need to worry about the Delta variant?
Though rare, even fully vaccinated people can contract COVID-19, including the Delta variant. These are called “breakthrough” cases. The good news is that fully vaccinated people who contract the disease tend to have milder symptoms. People who are fully vaccinated also have a decreased risk of hospitalization. So, even though the vaccine provides a layer of protection against COVID-19 and the Delta variant, caution is still advised for each person’s personal health and safety. Another key point is that the Delta variant can cause more severe symptoms in anyone. Even if you’re vaccinated, you may still be at risk of developing complications.
Can fully vaccinated people spread the Delta variant?
Though rare, fully vaccinated people can still spread the COVID-19 virus and Delta variant to others. If you’re vaccinated, you yourself are at less risk, but you can still put others at risk. This is why it’s advised to follow the same protocols in public as those who are not vaccinated (physical distancing, frequent hand washing, and mask wearing). Overall, people who are fully vaccinated are better protected against the COVID-19 Delta variant. At the same time, fully vaccinated people still need to stay vigilant to stop the spread of this variant.
Are the symptoms of the Delta variant the same as other strains of COVID-19?
The symptoms of the COVID-19 Delta variant are the same as the symptoms for COVID-19. In cases of the Delta variant, symptoms tend to be more severe. If you suspect you may have contracted COVID-19 or the Delta variant, you should self-isolate and seek medical guidance immediately. It’s also important to keep in mind that along with the symptoms, the emergency warning signs for the Delta variant are the same as for COVID-19. The Texas Department of State Health Services indicates that you should call 911 if you or someone you know has any of these symptoms. The emergency warning signs are:
- Trouble breathing
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- New confusion or inability to wake up or stay awake
- Bluish lips or face
Who is most at risk of contracting the Delta variant?
Unvaccinated individuals are the most at risk for contracting COVID-19 and the Delta variant. This includes children who are too young to be vaccinated.
Why should I get vaccinated?
Getting vaccinated is the most effective way to stop the spread of COVID-19 and any variants, including the Delta variant. In doing so, you can protect yourself and others.
In breakthrough cases, people who are fully vaccinated appear to be contagious for a shorter amount of time. This means that those who are fully vaccinated tend to spread the virus to less people.
People who are fully vaccinated and then contract COVID-19 have milder symptoms. They are also much less likely to require hospitalization for COVID-19 related treatment. Across the board, the vaccines offer a level of protection to individuals from COVID-19 and the Delta variant.
What does it mean to be fully vaccinated?
People first need all doses of a vaccine. Then, your immune system needs time to develop antibodies against the virus. The CDC considers people fully vaccinated:
- 2 weeks after their second dose in a 2-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or
- 2 weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine.
Something to keep in mind is that if you have a compromised immune system, you also may not be as protected as others. You should use caution in your activities to lessen the risk of contracting COVID-19. You may also require an additional dose of vaccine.
Which is the most effective vaccine against COVID-19 and the Delta variant?
All available and approved vaccines are effective in protecting you from COVID-19, including the Delta variant. There is no preference between the vaccines, and you should take whichever vaccine made available to you.
How can we stop the spread of the Delta variant?
The most important step in stopping the spread of COVID-19 and the Delta variant is to get vaccinated. Though rare breakthrough cases are possible, fully vaccinated people generally do not contract COVID-19 and are less likely to pass it on to others.
During a time when there is a high transmission rate, everyone (including those fully vaccinated) should follow public health guidelines. The Texas DSHS recommends these guidelines to stop the spread of COVID-19 and the Delta variant:
- Consider wearing a mask. Vaccinated or not, wearing a mask in indoor public spaces can help protect you and everyone close to you.
- Wash hands often for 20 seconds and encourage others to do the same. Use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are unavailable.
- Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue, then throw the tissue away.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Disinfect surfaces, buttons, handles, knobs, and other places touched often.
- Stay six feet apart from others.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
COVID-19 testing to help stop the spread.
The spread of COVID-19 and any variant slows through frequent medical testing and monitoring. This includes antibody, PCR, and surveillance testing. Your Health Lab offers each of these tests, helping individuals and institutions monitor and slow the spread of the virus. Check out our offerings and learn all about our COVID-19 testing here.