What You Need to Know About the COVID-19 Delta Variant
The threat from COVID-19 remains serious because of the dangerous Delta variant. It continues to spread, and is now the dominant form of coronavirus. Delta is more of a threat because it:
- Is more easily transmitted to other people – most estimates say it’s twice as contagious
- Can spread faster among people young and old
- Hits harder than the “original” COVID-19, with more intense symptoms
- Has better ability to bind to cells and elude your own antibodies
Some estimates show every 10 people who get infected will go on to infect 60 to 70 others on average, said David Basel, MD, Avera Medical Group Vice President of Clinical Quality.
Vaccines Effective Against Delta
Research shows our existing vaccines are highly effective against it. Vaccinated people can still get the Delta variant of COVID-19. But they’ll get less sick and avoid the worst of the virus’ threats.
That is true with all vaccines, Basel said.
“Some studies show that vaccination can reduce your risk of hospitalization by more than 95%. That’s an estimate no one should ignore,” Basel said. “Many people don’t realize it, but vaccines never stop a disease 100% of the time. They work like the ones we have now are working – they keep you from getting seriously ill, and they can keep you from having to be admitted.”
Staying Safe in the Face of New Threats
As this fourth wave of COVID-19 unfolds, the lessons we all learned over months of pandemic remain vital going forward. The basic building blocks to reaching a true “post-pandemic” world include:
- Making sure more people, of all ages, get vaccinated, since vaccines provide more robust protection than even natural exposure-developed immunity.
- Using masks, social distance and handwashing prevention methods to reduce the possibility of spread.
- Continuing monitoring efforts and mitigation strategies that are proven to help cut the number of new cases, hospitalizations and deaths.
"COVID deaths now are preventable,” Basel said. “Please get vaccinated to protect yourself, your family and your coworkers. Shots are safe and effective, and could save your life, and help us all to avoid regressing to a time of shutdowns and widespread quarantine efforts.”
Vaccines are available to anyone age 5 and older, and they are found in a wide range of places, from public walk-in clinics to retail pharmacies, clinics and hospitals.
“The tragedy we faced as the pandemic began was that there was nothing we could do to help those who became infected,” Basel said. “Now the tragedy is that we can do something – but prevention begins with vaccination, and sadly we’re seeing declines, hesitancy and misinformation making terrible impacts.”
Learn more about getting vaccinated to protect yourself from the COVID-19 Delta variant.