What You Should Know About The Delta Variant Of COVID-19

According to the CDC, the United States has six different variants of the virus that causes COVID-19. One of them is the B.1.617.2, also called the Delta variant. The CDC has labeled this one a "variant of concern," meaning that the virus variant is more contagious, results in more severe symptoms with more hospitalizations or deaths, reduced antibodies, reduced vaccine effectiveness, or testing problems. Worryingly, a study found that the Delta variant is 64% more transmissible than the Alpha variant.

Viruses are constantly mutating. According to the CDC, the delta variation was initially found in India in December 2020 and was identified in the United States in March 2021. It's the most common COVID-19 variant in the United States right now. The CDC Covid tracker shows that the Delta variant has spread to much of the U.S., and more are expected to become infected unless more people get vaccinated.

So, how can you protect yourself? You'll want to keep reading.

How to protect yourself from the Delta variant

The first thing you need to do is get fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to protect yourself and others from the delta variant and all others. As President Joe Biden tweeted, "Folks, the Delta variant — a highly infectious COVID-19 strain — is spreading rapidly among young people between 12 and 20 years old in the U.K. If you're young and haven't gotten your shot yet, it really is time." 

He's right. An early study shows that a complete COVID-19 vaccination can still prevent a severe case of the Delta variant. You are fully vaccinated two weeks after your second dose of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine and two weeks after your first and only dose of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine. While some studies show the Delta variant could still cause breakthrough infection, these studies still need to be peer-reviewed to be completed.

According to the World Health Organization, protecting yourself and others from the Delta strain is all about herd immunity – having a "substantial amount of the population vaccinated against COVID-19". As of this writing, only 44.7% of the United States is fully vaccinated, according to the CDC. You can get your COVID-19 vaccine through a local pharmacy, state health department, or check Vaccines.gov for a location near you. In most cases, you can schedule an appointment online.