Here is fundamental knowledge about the Delta variant.
Recently, the Philippines have recorded a significant number of Delta variant cases of COVID-19. As of July 25, the country’s total number of active variant cases has reached 119–about 103 of these have recovered. Aside from the Philippines, several countries in Southeast Asia are also experiencing a surge due to the Delta variant—which can be devastating since most of the populations are still unvaccinated. Since this strain is relatively new, not many Filipinos are familiar with the Delta variant’s effects. In this article, Yoorekka explains the important things to know about the Delta variant.
1. The variant has spread to 104 countries.
The Delta variant was first detected in India in December 2020–which is the leading cause of the surge of COVID-19 cases in the entire country. Aside from India, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CCDC) tracker reported that the Delta variant is now spreading rapidly to 104 countries as of July 21, 2021. It is currently the dominant COVID-19 variant in Germany, United States, and the United Kingdom. 97% of new COVID-19 cases in the United Kingdom are the Delta variant.
Recently, the Philippines also reported 55 active cases of the delta variant. Among these cases, 37 were locally transmitted, and 17 were from returning overseas Filipinos (ROF). Metro Manila currently has 22 cases, and Calabarzon currently has 14 confirmed cases as of July 25, 2021.
2. Its symptoms are similar to the original strain.
According to the reported symptoms from infected individuals in the United Kingdom, the Delta variant shares the same symptoms as the original COVID-19 strain, like fever, sore throat, headache, and coughing. The two strains are different because the loss of smell is less common for those infected with the Delta variant. However, the Delta Variant is found to be more contagious than other strains of the coronavirus.
The World Health Organization (WHO) called the Delta variant “the fastest and fittest” because of its transmission rate. Delta is found to spread faster by 50% than the Alpha variant—which was also more contagious than the original strain. To explain it further, it means that the Deltra variant can spread from individuals to 3.5 or 4 more people who are unvaccinated or maskless. However, scientists have yet to identify if the variant is deadlier.
3. Unvaccinated individuals and younger people are more likely to get the Delta variant.
In a study conducted in the United Kingdom, children and adults under 50 years old were more likely to get infected with the Delta variant by 2.5 times because older folks were immunized first. In addition to this, individuals who are unvaccinated against COVID-19 are more at risk, according to reports from Yale Medicine.
4. Vaccines are effective against it, but they can still infect fully vaccinated individuals.
Since the Delta variant is not so different from the original strain, vaccines are still effective against it. The current vaccine brands were made to lessen the severity of the symptomatic infection rather than prevention, which means that the Delta variant can still infect fully vaccinated individuals. Still, the vaccine reduces risks for hospitalization and serious illnesses.
Research from the New England Journal of Medicine found that two doses of AstraZeneca and Pfizer were highly effective against the Delta variant. Pfizer has an efficacy rate of 88% against the Delta variant after two doses, while it is only 36% effective at the first dose. As for AstraZeneca, it is 67% effective with two doses and 30% after one dose.
As for standard safety protocols like wearing face masks, the World Health Organization recommended vaccinated people to practice social distancing, good hygiene, and wearing face masks since a large number of the population are still unvaccinated
5. It is still not determined if the Delta variant is more deadly
Scientists have yet to figure out if the Delta variant is deadlier than other strains despite its high transmission rate. However, based on the recorded hospitalization in areas with a severe outbreak of the variant, hospitalization, and death are more apparent among unvaccinated residents. Thus, in the Philippines, LGUs strictly enforce health and safety protocols to prevent the spread of the virus in communities.
All details and information in this article are true and accurate as of the publication date. However, while we are making our utmost effort to keep our content as up-to-date as possible, the condition surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic continues to be unpredictable, and the situation develops rapidly. Hence, some information and recommendations may have changed since this article was published. For the latest advice, visit DOH and your LGU's official websites.
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About Denisse Shawntel Tan
Denisse Tan is currently a work in progress: she’s an aspiring writer, artist, and fashion designer! She’s trying to figure out how to manage her time in achieving all of her goals while also taking in life as humanly possible. Aside from art, she’s a big fan of the color pink, disco music, Bratz dolls, and Genshin Impact. By age 35, she plans to travel to New York City 🗽.
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