Everyone was affected by the previous global lockdown from the COVID-19 pandemic. Stories about Grandparents seeing their loved ones through Plexiglas and small businesses across the country shutting down littered social media and the news airwaves.
A few months ago, we began to come out of social isolation and began to come together again. Now there is a new threat to our rediscovered interactions. The new Delta variant of COVID-19 may have the potential to shut our country down once again.
What is the Delta variant?
Delta is the name for the B.1.617.2. variant, a SARS-CoV-2 mutation. The highly transmissible Delta variant is now the dominant strain of coronavirus found in the United States.
This variant is significantly more aggressive than previous strains. It is directly affecting the population that has yet to get any vaccination shots the most.
This variant was first detected in the United States in March 2021, and it was initially identified in India in December 2020. It quickly spread and ravaged the nation, completely redirecting any plans they may have had to reopen their country.
The Delta variant latches onto cells in a host faster and better than other variants because it can replicate itself easier than different variants.
As a result, it is roughly 50% more contagious than the original coronavirus variant that put us into lockdown. It also carries a higher risk of hospitalization, especially for those without a vaccine.
Are vaccines working against the Delta variant?
As of writing this article, all three significant vaccines authorized for emergency use by the FDA offer strong protection against severe disease and death from the Delta variant.
They are not as protective against this variant as the original strain but are far better than not getting vaccinated at all.
COVID-19 cases are on the rise again because of the Delta variant. While the entire country is experiencing higher numbers of hospitalizations and case rates, the places that have low vaccination rates are seeing the most significant increases.
According to CNBC, the overwhelming majority of serious Covid cases – 97% of hospital admission and 99.5% of COVID-19 deaths – are occurring among those who are not vaccinated.
Will there be another lockdown?
As the Delta variant is highly transferable, some areas in the US will likely return to at least a mask mandate again. Whether or not they will reintroduce full lockdowns will greatly depend upon the political arena of the given area.
Major cities like Los Angeles, New York, and Boston have begun to require masks for those even with vaccination records.
There have been cases of people who have been vaccinated still getting the Delta variant. These are called “vaccine breakthrough cases.” This means that while people who have been vaccinated are much less likely to get sick, getting the Delta variant might still happen in some cases.
Even with numbers spiking, certain parts of the country refuse to listen to data and evidence in making their public health decisions.
This shouldn’t be a partisan issue. The science speaks for itself, especially with the introduction of this new Delta variant.
What should I do?
The best thing we can all do to help one another is getting a vaccine. However, if you are still on the fence about getting the shot, the least you can do is wear a mask in tight public quarters, especially indoors.
In the meantime, do your best to move on with your life and return to some semblance of normalcy.
We aren’t entirely done with COVID-19, but at least with vaccination, we are finally starting to see a way out.
Written by Emmanuel J. Osemota