Delta variant’s rapid spread has once again caused Americans to feel anxious about pandemics. With the recent surge of coronavirus cases, new mask and vaccine requirements have been put into place.
As much as we desperately want to be over with COVID-19, it is quite clear it will not let us go easily. Hence our fight against it will have to continue for a little longer,” said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of CDC.
Are you worried if you already have a vaccine? Are there any new precautions to be taken? Find out how to stay safe and how to protect others from the rapidly spreading variant.
Is the delta variant more contagious?
According to NPR, the SARS-CoV-2 delta variant appears to be two times more transmissible than the original strain. Delta seems to spread faster, no matter how you look at it, says Dr. Helen ChuProfessor of medicine at the University of Washington.
Does it matter whether I’m vaccinated or not?
Yes, but don’t worry. However, despite COVID-19 vaccines being somewhat less protective against delta, they remain highly effective in preventing people from getting severely ill and dying.
Dr. Anthony Fauci recently noted that vaccines are 88% effective in preventing people from developing symptoms during a White House briefing. In a study conducted by Fauci, vaccinated people were 25 times less likely to end up in the hospital than their unvaccinated counterparts.
Our message is to get vaccinated,” Fauci said. It protects you, your family, and your community from the Delta variant.
How about long COVID-19?
Despite the very low risk of getting sick, virologist Angela Rasmussen says that if you get an asymptomatic case, you could still face long-term COVID-19 symptoms. She works at the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization at the University of Saskatchewan in Canada. However, the data is still quite limited.
“It may even require a long hospital stay,” she says. “The best thing to do is to avoid getting infected at all costs.”
Should I wear a mask in public again?
You’d be wise to find a mask that fits you well because many experts recommend it. A new CDC guideline was published in late July says that even people who have been fully vaccinated should start masking again indoors if they live in an area where the virus is circulating widely.
Is a booster shot necessary?
At the moment, no. As far as the federal government is concerned, booster shots to enhance immunity are not recommended. The CDC and FDA are striving to collect as much data as possible to adequately address that question, Fauci said. Vaccine makers and federal health authorities are continuing to track the immunity of participants enrolled in the initial clinical trials.
How about kids? Are kids susceptible to the Delta virus?
In short, yes. The coronavirus infects children in milder forms, but they are susceptible nevertheless. Under the age of 12, children are not allowed to receive any vaccines, and they are the age group with the least protection.
The delta variant of the pathogen may cause children to develop more symptoms compared to an older version. Chu explains that with the more transmissible variety, people get sick with more viruses and more symptoms.
Despite this, Chu says “children don’t always show symptoms of COVID.” Her best guess? Delta is unlikely to lead to a significant number of children being hospitalized.
Rasmussen says that parents should still keep their kids masked up so they don’t spread the virus to more vulnerable individuals. “Even if they are untouched by it, others in their household may be impacted, as a result of a weakened immune system or immunosuppressed people.”
Can I fly with my unvaccinated kids? What other travel precautions should I be aware of?
Experts recommend taking extra precautions when traveling. Ravina Kullar, an infectious diseases specialist and epidemiologist at the University of California, Los Angeles, tells NPR that we are dealing with a new virus, and we live in a highly contagious virus’ playground.
The air filtration on airplanes is generally excellent, and the passengers use masks while in the air. Still, getting to the airport and spending time at the airport could be dangerous, especially for unvaccinated children. Rather than flying with young children, Kullar would take a road trip instead, until the delta plateaus.
Do I have to turn down wedding and other large gathering invitations?
In most cases, it is safe if you have received the vaccine, but your location matters, especially if cases are rising.
Is delta associated with different COVID-19 symptoms?
Yes. Infected people with delta show different symptoms from those of those with COVID-19: fever, cough, and loss of taste or smell. Now, some of the more obvious symptoms seem to be a runny nose, sore throat, and headache.
According to Chu, it is hard to explain this apparent change, “because this is a different population that was infected previously.” he said. She says people who get sick now tend to be younger.
Is it time to use those bleach wipes again?
There is no need to clean the surface extra. The delta virus transmits the same way as SARS-CoV-2, regardless of its increased transmissibility. It is a commonly transmitted respiratory virus, according to Chu.
So the main way for the virus to spread remains by being indoors and breathe in someone’s droplets or aerosols. By contrast, delta makes many more copies of a virus faster, so it is easier to spread to others.
Despite this, Rasmussen sees the situation positively. It means the mitigation measures we had in place previously will still work – it’s not coming from somewhere else.”