Just as life started to feel normal again, the world was confronted with a new Covid strain. If you’ve seen the news these past few months, chances are you’ve heard of the Delta variant. In this post, we’ll examine exactly what it is; how it differs from the Covid-19 strain that began the pandemic; how effective vaccines are at fighting it; what the latest CDC guidance indicates we should do to keep safe; where to get vaccinated and how to get tested if you suspect you have contracted the Delta variant of the virus.
Differences Between Delta Variant and Original Covid-19
This new strain of the coronavirus originated in India at the end of 2020 and made its way to the U.S. in the spring of 2021. Last month 80% of the Covid cases in America were attributed to the Delta variant. Although the symptoms are mostly the same as the original version of Covid, this strain is far more contagious. Kids and adults under 50 are 2.5 times as likely to contract the Delta variant as they are the original Covid, according to a study conducted in the U.K. The severity of the Delta variant in unvaccinated people is also proving to be worse. Certain monoclonal antibody treatments have proven to be less effective and those who get the Delta variant are twice as likely to be hospitalized.
The best way to protect yourself and anyone you interact with in your community is to get vaccinated. If you’ve already been vaccinated, eight months later, get a booster shot.
Though there have been ‘breakthrough’ cases of the Covid Delta variant showing up in vaccinated individuals, it is rare and when those people contracted it, the severity was reported to be much milder compared to those who have not had the shot(s).
Put simply, you are statistically less likely to be hospitalized, or worse die, if you have the vaccine in your system fighting the variant. As the virus continues to mutate and more variants emerge, vaccines are your best defense against all of them.
CDC Guidance on Staying Healthy
The first thing the CDC recommends is to get vaccinated if you are able. If you currently are not, or have a condition that prevents you from being vaccinated, wear a mask at all times to help prevent the spread of the virus and protect yourself. For those vaccinated, masks are still recommended indoors or in settings with groups of people in close contact. The CDC also recommends getting tested if you become symptomatic and self-quarantining if you have been exposed to someone who tested positive, even if you’re not displaying symptoms
Furthermore, avoid crowds and indoor activities that take place in poorly ventilated areas. If you must attend events or be in a workplace where you’re near others, try to maintain a safe 6-foot distance at all times.
It is also recommended that you wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds after you return from a public place, after using the restroom, before preparing or eating food, after handling your mask, after changing a diaper or petting animals.
Get Vaccinated or Tested for the Covid-19 Delta Variant
If you have not yet been vaccinated, contact Western Washington Medical Group Family Practice to schedule an appointment. You may also consult with the Family Practice team if you are experiencing symptoms of the virus and fear it may be the Covid-19 Delta variant; they will help determine if you need the test, and if so, advise where the closest site for testing is located. For more general inquiries, complete the form on this page.