The COVID-19 delta variant is spreading rapidly around the world, just as many people were beginning to feel hopeful that the pandemic was coming to an end. Despite the spread of this new, more contagious variant, there’s still room for cautious optimism that we can halt the spread.
Here are three things you should know about the delta variant to stay safe.
1. The delta variant is more contagious than the other variants of the COVID-19 virus.
The delta variant seems to be around 75% more contagious than the original virus, and it’s spreading rapidly and is now the most common variant of COVID-19 virus circulating through the United States, including in Iowa. This variant has the capacity to accelerate the pandemic if the spread doesn’t slow down.
3 simple steps to avoiding the delta variant
- Get your COVID-19 vaccine (and get your second dose of a two-dose vaccine, if you haven’t already).
- Avoid areas with high case numbers and keep an eye on your local situation.
- Keep your mask handy in certain situations, such as large indoor gatherings where not everyone is vaccinated.
And it’s not only adults who are being affected by this variant. Children not yet eligible for the vaccine can contract this variant then easily pass it onto other children at daycare, playdates, and school. Children—just like adults—can become severely ill from any strain of the virus, so it’s important to use preventative measures and get kids vaccinated as soon as they are eligible.
2. Unvaccinated people are most at risk, and vaccination is the best protection.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that more than 99% of the people who died from COVID-19 during the past two months were not vaccinated. The vaccine continues to show high efficacy in preventing symptomatic COVID-19 and, in the individuals who experience breakthrough disease, very few have required hospitalization.
Those who are not fully vaccinated (including those who haven’t received their second dose of a two-dose vaccine) and are not practicing preventative behaviors are at risk for contracting this variant. If you are eligible to receive the vaccine, get vaccinated as soon as possible.
3. It could lead to local outbreaks that can overwhelm health systems.
As the delta strain spreads quickly among largely unvaccinated communities, the risk of health care systems—including those in Iowa—being overwhelmed with COVID-19 cases rises.
Receiving the vaccine not only protects you, but also protects others who are at risk for complications or death from COVID-19, including those who have weakened immune systems or who have not yet been vaccinated. The more people who are vaccinated, the less opportunity the virus has to spread, and the fewer people who will end up in the hospital.
Protect yourself and your loved ones by getting vaccinated as soon as possible.