August 12, 2021 / Source: The Bizz USA
By Isabelle Sitchon
“What’s this cold that’s been going around?”--many have been asking on TikTok. Despite being vaccinated, abiding by COVID-19 regulations, and staying a six feet distance away from people for more than a year now, it seems that more and more people are getting sick.
The question is: why has such a cold been spreading around?
Well, outside of coronavirus, there are other illnesses that are also contagious--such as the common cold. If you have the vaccine, the CDC does not require you to wear a mask in public places (aside from certain businesses and workplaces that require masks). As more people obtain the vaccine, the less you will see people wearing a mask. Thus, we are more prone to regular sicknesses like fevers. Masks have helped immensely not only in preventing the spread of COVID-19 but also from other infectious illnesses as well.
However, the pandemic is not over. Recently, there has been an alarming outbreak of COVID cases in U.S. hospitals--and this is because of the Delta Variant.
Discovered first in India, the Delta Variant has quickly spread across the world, infecting 96 countries, including the United States. The variant is said to be more contagious than the regular virus strains, spreading the coronavirus even faster than before.
"...we know that where the Delta variant is identified, it really rapidly takes off and spreads between people more efficiently than even the Alpha variant that was first detected around December, January 2021,” WHO’s Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove said.
The Delta Variant has been labeled as a “variant of concern” by the CDC, showing evidence of increased transmissibility, disease severity, and decreased effectiveness of treatments/vaccines. A study made by the Guangdong Provincial Center for Disease Control and Prevention shows that the variant “could be more infectious during the early stage of infection.” The study proposes that it has a potential higher viral replication rate than the original COVID variant, meaning that a person with the Delta Variant is likely to be more infectious.
This variant was first detected in the United States back in March 2021. Now, recent spikes of the Coronavirus have shown that the variant has become the most dominant COVID strain in the U.S. From June 20 to July 3, an estimated 61.7% of the proportion of COVID cases were of the Delta Variant, according to the CDC.
The people who are most at risk for the variant? Unvaccinated individuals.
According to the New York Times, many central/southern states, namely Missouri, Arkansas, and Louisiana, are facing extreme numbers of COVID cases. Coincidentally, these states also have lower rates of vaccination. Without the vaccine, there is less protection against the highly infectious Delta Variant. A study published by Nature Research shows individuals with just one dose of the Pfizer or AstraZeneca vaccine barely inhibited the Delta Variant, while 95% of those with two doses of the vaccine were able to defend against the variant. Although the vaccines may seem stronger against the original virus strains as opposed to the new delta strain, the vaccines still provide adequate protection against the incredibly transmissible variant.
“...when it's your turn, get vaccinated. We know that the vaccines are incredibly effective at preventing severe disease and death,” Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove said.
It’s important to note that the Delta Variant is a hindrance to our efforts to proceed towards a new normal again. Many people are at risk, including the young generation. A study conducted by the Imperial College London in the U.K. found that those aged below 50 were 2.5 times more likely to obtain Delta. In order to lower your risks and help our nation decrease rates of COVID, protect yourself by wearing masks, abiding by essential guidelines, and keeping up with the new information.
Most importantly, get your vaccine! If you haven’t obtained your vaccine yet, you can visit Vaccines.gov, the CDC website, or call 1-800-232-0233 to find a vaccine location near you.