For many across the world, the most frustrating part of the COVID-19 pandemic is its seemingly endless nature. After waiting a year of mask wearing and isolation, effective vaccines were released and began to be distributed throughout the population. But just as restrictions began to ease, whispers started to go around about the Delta variant of COVID-19. Now, many of those restrictions are going back up and people are being asked to use social distancing for a little longer until the Delta variant is under control.
But what is the Delta variant? What does it mean for you? We’ll break that down in today’s blog.
What Happens When a Virus Mutates
Viruses might not be living things, but in some ways, they do mimic the survival instinct of living things. Part of that involves virus mutation. Viruses are ever attempting to change their DNA or RNA, or mutate, in order to continue to spread. Because not every mutation can be predicted and accounted for, vaccines are not always able to cover every strain of the vaccine. When there are enough mutations, a variant might present itself — a new strain of a virus that achieves much the same result but behaves somewhat differently. This is the case with the Delta variant of COVID-19.
The Danger of the Delta Variant
WHO has declared the Delta variant a “variant of concern,” primarily because of its contagious nature. The Delta variant is the most contagious form of COVID-19 that has been discovered thus far. Because of this, many businesses have put mask mandates back in place, and many have felt safest wearing masks at both indoor and outdoor gatherings. Most recent outbreaks that have occurred have been a result of the Delta variant.
Will a COVID-19 Vaccine Protect Against the Delta Variant?
As with most variants of COVID-19, the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine can protect you, but this is not a 100% certainty. Vaccinated patients have still caught COVID-19, but generally the vaccine works to greatly reduce the risk of hospitalization and death due to COVID-19. In addition, the CDC has recommended that those 65 and older follow up with a booster shot from either Pfizer or Moderna, as well as any adult with high risk conditions or in a high risk environment.
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