August – The Delta Variant
What is a COVID-19 variant?
Viruses constantly change through mutation, and new variants of a virus are expected to occur over time. Sometimes new variants emerge and disappear. Other times, new variants emerge and persist. Multiple variants of the virus that causes COVID-19 have been documented in the United States and globally during this pandemic.
The virus that causes COVID-19 is a type of coronavirus, a large family of viruses. Coronaviruses are named for the crown-like spikes on their surfaces. Scientists monitor changes in the virus, including changes to the spikes on the surface of the virus. These studies, including genetic analyses of the virus, are helping scientists understand how changes to the virus might affect how it spreads and what happens to people who are infected with it.
What are the most common variants now?
Multiple variants of the virus that causes COVID-19 are circulating globally, however the variant that is most concerning is the Delta Variant. The Delta Variant of COVID-19 is now the dominant strain in the United States and cases are rapidly rising.
What is known about the Delta variant?
The Delta variant seems to spread more easily and quickly than other variants, which has lead to more cases of COVID-19. An increase in the number of cases will put more strain on healthcare resources, lead to more hospitalizations, and potentially more deaths.
So far the COVID-19 vaccines are proving effective against the variant, despite the high level of infections among those who are vaccinated. Predominately, those who are experiencing the worst of the virus are unvaccinated, with vaccinated people experiencing mild symptoms.
It is advisable that everyone, including those who are vaccinated, continues to minimize the spread of disease by doing the following:
Continue washing and sanitizing your hands frequently.
Continue to wear a mask when outside of your home. Double mask for better protection if using a disposable and/or cotton face mask.
Continue social distancing.
If you have come in contact with someone suspected of, or verified with, having COVID-19, get tested immediately.