The COVID-19 Delta Variant: What we Know so Far

The COVID-19 Delta Variant: What we Know so Far

The variant is spreading like a wildfire, fueling outbreaks across the U.S., mainly targeting those who are not vaccinated.

New restrictions and warnings around the world from public health officials sparked since the start of the highly-contagious Delta variant. On July 27, 2021, the CDC released updated guidance on the need for getting the vaccine and recommendations for those in substantial or high transmission areas to wear a mask in public or indoor places even if they are fully vaccinated. CDC issued this new guidance due to several concerning developments and newly emerging data signals. View them here.

“The Delta variant is more aggressive and much more transmissible than previously circulating strains,” Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky, director of the CDC, said at a White House briefing last week. “It is one of the most infectious respiratory viruses we know of and that I have seen in my 20-year career.”

According to the CDC, the Delta Variant is as transmissible as the chickenpox. Although the vaccines continue to provide strong protection against severe disease and death, fully vaccinated people can be infected and transmit Delta, the agency noted. Given these facts, it was time to “acknowledge the war has changed,” the document said.

According to a study, people who are infected by Delta may carry 1,000 times more of the virus for a longer period of time than those infected by the original virus. Delta has been reported in 182 countries and is now the most common variant in many of them including, India and Britain. Delta was first identified in the United States in March. It spread extremely quickly.

In early April, Delta represented just 0.1 percent of cases in the United States, according to the CDC. By early May, the variant accounted for 1.3 percent of cases, and by early June, that figure had jumped to 9.5 percent. The C.D.C. now estimates that the number has hit 82.2 percent.

The CDC and trusted outlets are saying the only thing you can truly do to stay safe is get vaccinated as well as encourage your family and friends to do so, as well. Learn more about the Delta variant here.

About the Author

Shereen Hashem is the Associate Content Editor for Occupational Health & Safety magazine.

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