Delta Variant – What You Need To Know

The COVID-19 Delta variant is on the rise in the United States

If you listen to the news, you have probably heard about COVID-19 variants that are circulating throughout the world. Currently, there are four that are classified as variants of concern in the United States1.

What is a Variant?

As viruses spread, their characteristics have the ability to change. When this occurs, they are called a variant. Changes in a virus can impact how it spreads or how sick people get if they are infected by it. Changes may also allow the virus to spread more easily or become resistant to treatments or vaccines2.

The Delta variant, which was first identified in India, is of particular concern due to its increased ability to spread, potential for increased severity of disease and potential for decreased immunity acquired from previous infection or vaccines1.  

As of July 3, 2021, the estimated proportions of the Delta variant accounted for 51.7% of COVID cases in the United States. This figure is up 20% from only two weeks prior3. It is rapidly becoming the dominant strain of COVID-19 in the United States.

Many of us have grown tired of hearing about COVID-19. The reality is however, that it is still here and is something we should continue to take necessary precautions against. Recent studies of the Delta variant indicate that unvaccinated children and people under the age of 50 were more likely to become infected than with previous variants4. While hospitalization rates among adolescents remain lower than adults, a recent study found an increase in hospitalization rates in ages 12-175.

The best way to protect yourself from any variant of COVID-19 is to get vaccinated. While there is a potential for decreased immunity with the Delta variant, vaccines remain highly effective at preventing sever disease, hospitalization and death4.

Since COVID-19 vaccines were made available, rates of infection have decreased along with hospitalizations and deaths. The highest rates of incidences are among those who remain unvaccinated. 

References:

  1. CDC: SARS-CoV-2 Variant Classifications and Definitions, Updated July 6, 2021
  2. CDC: About Variants of the Virus that Causes COVID-19​​, Updated June 28, 2021
  3. CDC: COVID Data Tracker Variant Proportions
  4. Yale Medicine: 5 Things To Know About the Delta Variant
  5. CDC: Trending: Teens, Interpretive Summary for June 4, 2021

Good News for COVID-19 Survivors

NEW STUDIES SUGGEST THAT COVID-19 SURVIVORS HAVE LONG-TERM IMMUNITY Rebecca Myers, MSN, RN for MEHOP Two new studies are out that suggest that people who survived COVID-19 have long-term immunity from the virus3,4. If you are a COVID-19 survivor and received the vaccination, your immunity is boosted up to “50 times greater than before the… Read More

Are You Over 45, Overweight, and Inactive?

References 1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). What is Diabetes? Last reviewed June 11, 2020 2. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). Diabetes. Last reviewed December 2016 3. Mayo Clinic. Diabetes. October 30, 2020 4. Cleveland Clinic. Diabetes: An Overview. Last reviewed March 28, 2021 5. American Diabetes Association… Read More

Car Seats Are Back!

After temporary program closure last year by the State due to COVID-19, the Texas Safe Riders child safety seat program is back! The program provides free child safety seats to families in Texas who are experiencing financial hardship in an effort to reduce the number of motor vehicle crash injuries and fatalities to children in… Read More

Fully Vaccinated Adults Less Likely to be Hospitalized with COVID-19

CDC: Fully Vaccinated Adults 65 and Older 94% Less Likely to be Hospitalized with COVID-19

Key Points

  • Both Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines protect against COVID-19-related hospitalizations for fully vaccinated adults 65 and older
  • Everyone 16 years of age and older should get the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible
  • Getting vaccinated is the best protection against COVID-19

In a press release issued on April 28th, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed that a new assessment shows that fully vaccinated adults 65 and older were 94% less likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19 than people of the same age who were unvaccinated. People in this same group who were partially vaccinated were 64% less likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19 than the unvaccinated group1.

  • You are considered ‘fully vaccinated’ two weeks after your second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
  • You are considered ‘partially vaccinated’ two weeks after your first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

These real-world findings confirm that both the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines prevent severe COVID-19 illness. According to the CDC two-thirds of people aged 65 and over in the U.S. are already fully vaccinated1.

What Is COVID-19?

COVID-19, also known as SARS-CoV-2, is a coronavirus that caused a world-wide pandemic of respiratory illness2. Over three million people worldwide have died from COVID-19, over 500,000 in the U.S3.

How Does Coronavirus Spread?

Coronavirus spreads with person-to-person contact. An infected person talks, coughs, or sneezes and the droplets (infectious viral particles) land in the mouth or nose of an uninfected person close by4.

How Can I Protect Myself And Others?

Harvard Health recommends these actions to keep yourself and other safe:

  • Wear a face mask
  • Maintain distance between yourself and others.
  • Socialize outdoors
  • Avoid close contact with people who a sick.
  • Minimize touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean frequently touched objects and surfaces regularly.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water.
  • Get vaccinated as soon as possible.

How Do I Know If I Have COVID-19?

According to Johns Hopkins Health, COVID-19 symptoms include:

  • Cough
  • Fever or chills
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Diarrhea
  • Headache
  • New fatigue
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Congestion or runny nose

Some people diagnosed with COVID-19 have mild symptoms, but some develop severe symptoms and must be hospitalized.

If you have fever and any symptoms listed above call your healthcare provider and tell them about your symptoms before you go anywhere. Then, follow their advice.

When Should I Call 911?

The healthcare providers at MEHOP5 advise that if you have any of these emergency warning signs* for COVID-19 get medical attention immediately:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion or inability to arouse
  • Blueish lips or face

*This list is not all inclusive. Please consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning to you.

1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). CDC Vaccinated Adults Less Hospitalized. Released April 28, 2021.

2. Johns Hopkins Health. What is Coronavirus? Updated April 30, 2021.

3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#datatracker-home. Updated April 30, 2021.

4. Harvard Health. Preventing the spread of coronavirus. Updated April 28, 20201.

5. Matagorda Episcopal Health Outreach Program (MEHOP). MEHOP.org. Retrieved April 30, 2021.