The United States is dealing with another COVID-19 surge yet again due to the Delta variant of the coronavirus. This highly contagious variant, unlike its siblings, is highly infectious. Within months after its first identification, the Delta variant has spread to many countries worldwide, including the United States.
More than 82% of the new cases in the USA are because of the Delta variant now. In fact, it is now the dominating variant nationwide and possibly, worldwide. With that, the questions around vaccine efficacy are resurfacing again. Here is what you need to know about vaccines and variants, their efficacies, and much more.
Delta Variant – Facts:
The severe situation with the delta variant can’t really be underestimated at this point when our healthcare system is unable to handle the growing number of patients needing hospitalization and oxygen. With a higher transmissibility rate than the previous SARS-CoV-2 variants, the Delta variant is a variant of concern declared by WHO. Here are some facts about this strain.
- Predominant variety in the U.S.
- 2X more contagious
- Causes more severe illness, especially with unvaccinated
- May infect the vaccinated (milder symptoms)
What Experts Say
The main concern of most United States officials is low vaccine uptake, which is the primary reason for this new COVID-19 wave and infections. The new variants put the unvaccinated population at high risk for infection. Several studies on this variant clearly show a high infection rate in the areas of low vaccination rates in the U.S. The CDC Director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, publicly issued a warning on this potential surge a month ago. During her press briefing, she mentioned 99.5% of deaths were related to unvaccinated people based on the preliminary data. In her statement, she also emphasized how low-vaccinated states like Missouri see a massive surge in recent weeks. In contrast, high-vaccinated states like Vermont reported only a few hundred cases.
Vaccines vs. Delta Variant – Efficacy
Following the Food and Drug Administration’s emergency use authorization (EAU), three vaccines started in America beginning last winter. In this fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, Pfizer and Moderna were the first two mRNA-based vaccines globally and the first launched COVID-19 vaccines. Johnson & Johnson vaccine was launched early spring, which is an Adenovirus-based single-dose vaccine. All three vaccines are proven to be effective against the original SARS-CoV-2. However, their efficacies against the Delta variant can vary.
Since the Delta variant emerged, many scientists conducted researches to find the vaccine efficacies against the variants. Based on several studies conducted on the variant and vaccine efficacy in the USA and other countries across the globe, here is what the data suggests.
How We Should Prepare
Those with vaccine eligibility must get vaccinated. For kids under 12-years and unvaccinated, the best way to mitigate that risk is to have them wear a mask and follow social distancing rules whenever possible. As responsible citizens, we should also follow CDC’s recommended best practices to keep our loved ones and community safe.
Here is what CDC recommends on dealing with Delta exposure. CDC’s updated best practices include mandatory testing even if asymptomatic, social distancing and isolation when tested positive and universal masking regardless of your vaccination status.
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