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Drew: Why the Delta Variant is a Game Changer for Many

By Samuetta Hill Drew

As we continue to hear and read about the newest COVID-19 coronavirus mutation – the Delta variant, it is good to know what it is and why we all need to pay attention, especially those individuals who are not fully vaccinated.
VOX journalist, Umair Irfan, writes on June 30 that “The Delta variant of COVID-19 has become the dominant source of new infections in the UK (United Kingdom) and is rapidly gaining ground in the U.S.”

He adds that “the fast-spreading Delta variant of the coronavirus is eroding some of the world’s precious progress against the COVID-19 pandemic.  It is likely the most transmissible variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus identified to date, appears to cause more severe illness than others, and has already landed in at least 85 countries . . . The Delta variant has made COVID-19 more dangerous than ever for unvaccinated people.”
The scientific and medical research communities have found the Delta variant contains at least 23 mutations compared to the original strain of SARS-CoV-2. Several of these mutations have particularly alarming traits.

“Based on current knowledge most mutations found in the Delta variant can be linked to an increase in cell entry efficiency or immune system,” states Markus Hoffman, a virologist at the German Primate Center, Leibniz Institute of Primate Research, in an email. “Whether they act synergistically or enhance each other is not clear yet.”

So a mutated version of the original virus that is more transmissible, leads to more severe outcomes, and is harder to protect against stands to be devastating for people who have no protection. Making the Delta variant the most occurring infection largely in unvaccinated people which is accounting for a growing share of hospitalizations and deaths around the world.

It is reported that younger people are making up a large portion of new Delta COVID-19 cases. This is believed true based upon the timing of their availability to the vaccine which was later than older adults, along with their refusal to get the vaccine for an array of reasons. Most of their reasons are not based upon scientific or medical research.

Health officials continue to worry and monitor this new Delta variant. They continue to encourage citizens to wear a mask, practice social distancing, wash hands frequently and get vaccinated, if unvaccinated. Following these safety recommendations were the most contributing factors for our country’s decrease in COVID-19 cases.

To help Keep an Eye on Safety for all us it is important to remember the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lifted some of its earlier safety recommendations about wearing masks, social distancing, events and gatherings for those who were fully vaccinated, not for the unvaccinated.

Unvaccinated or partially vaccinated people should continue to follow the original CDC COVID-19 guidelines to stop the contraction and spreading of COVID-19, especially the new Delta variant.