You’ve heard of the Delta variant of COVID-19. But what does that mean for us? What actions should we take?
First, it is important to know that viruses are constantly evolving and forming variants. A new variant is formed when a virus mutates. This is normal and expected of all viruses, including COVID-19. So, we expect to continue seeing new variants of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
As of mid-August 2021, over 98.8 percent of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. are caused by the Delta variant.
Here are a couple facts about the dominant Delta strain:
- It’s more than 2 times as contagious as any other variant found. The Delta variant virus is able to replicate more quickly, and it creates more virus than other strains. It also seems to be contagious earlier on in someone’s illness, meaning it can spread sooner.
- Children and younger adults are being affected by the Delta variant more than other variants. A recent study showed that children and adults under 50 are two and a half times more likely to be infected with Delta.
- Compared to previous strains, Delta might cause more severe illness in people who are unvaccinated. Severe illness often leads to hospitalization.
Actions you can take against the Delta variant
When it comes down to it, the Delta variant is a more contagious version of the virus that started a global pandemic. But what can you do about it?
Keep on top of your local COVID-19 reports. Know the COVID-19 spread in your community or in a place where you want to travel. Check out the CDC’s data tracker to see your county. Different areas of the U.S. are experiencing different levels of virus activity. In states with lower vaccination rates, COVID-19 cases are rapidly climbing as the Delta variant dominates.
Take precautions as needed. If you’re spending the day outside, you wear sunscreen. If your relative comes down with the flu, you keep your distance and wash your hands. In the same way, you can practice COVID-19 precautions when the circumstances call for it. Crowded gatherings with potentially unvaccinated people are a good time to break out your face mask, especially when indoors. Even as local restrictions ease, you can still practice COVID-19 precautions and safety measures.
Remember, masking is still required in health care settings. In a health care facility, there are patients and visitors who are very sick or have weak immune systems. So that’s why masking is so important, to protect those who are most vulnerable. Washing hands, wearing a mask and keeping your distance are all simple and effective ways to protect others.
Most importantly, get vaccinated to stay out of the hospital and avoid severe illness. Have you been on the fence about getting fully vaccinated? Studies continue to show that the COVID-19 vaccine offers protection against COVID-19, including the Delta variant.
Vaccinated people can still get COVID-19 (called breakthrough infections), but it’s less likely than unvaccinated people. Most importantly, the COVID-19 vaccine prevents you from getting seriously ill, needing to go to the hospital and even death. Studies show the vaccine is 89 percent effective against hospitalization.
Don’t delay — timing is important! The quicker you get vaccinated, the sooner your body will build immunity. As people in our communities build immunity against COVID-19, the threat of future COVID-19 variants weakens. COVID-19 will continue to evolve, but we can protect ourselves and our communities from it by getting vaccinated.
Ready to get your vaccine now? Learn more about our ministry’s COVID-19 vaccination efforts.