What is the Delta variant?
The Delta variant is a highly contagious strain of the coronavirus.
People who are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus appear to have protection against Delta, but anyone who is unvaccinated and not practicing preventive strategies is at risk for infection by the new variant.
Delta is the name for the B.1.617.2. variant, a SARS-CoV-2 mutation that originally surfaced in India. The first Delta case was identified in December 2020, and the strain spread rapidly, soon becoming the dominant strain of the virus in both India and then Great Britain. The first Delta case in the United States was diagnosed in March 2021 and it is now the dominant strain in the U.S.
With the Delta variant, COVID-19 symptoms often begin like a cold. Symptoms include a runny nose, sore throat, and other upper respiratory infection symptoms. Many who contracted the original COVID-19 virus likened it to a bad case of influenza with fever, loss of smell, persistent cough, and shortness of breath. Some patients infected with the Delta variant have reported that some symptoms are slightly different. Cough and loss of smell seem to be less common. Headache, sore throat, runny nose, and fever seem to be more common.
The most important thing you can do to protect yourself from the Delta variant of COVID-19 is to get fully vaccinated. That means if you get a two-dose vaccine like Pfizer or Moderna, you must get both shots and then wait the recommended two-week period for those shots to take full effect. Whether or not you are vaccinated, it’s also important to follow CDC prevention guidelines that are available for vaccinated and unvaccinated people.