The coronavirus pandemic is a problem that will probably not go away anytime soon. While vaccinations did wonders to help make society safer, there are some obstacles in the way preventing us from returning to normalcy.
In addition to threats like anti-vaxxers and people practicing poor social distancing protocol, some mutations made headlines for being worse than the original COVID-19.
What Is the Delta Variant (B.1.617.2)?
The Delta variant is a form of the corona, although it has some slight differences that make it distinct from the original. First identified in December of last year in India, this mutation spread rapidly and now makes up a majority of cases in the United States.
Is it Normal for Viruses to Mutate?
Viral mutations are completely normal. The Delta variant is not the first (or more recent) mutation of COVID-19.
Mutations are a normal part of any replication process. That’s why we have different color eyes and why there needs to be a new flu shot every year. The reason the Delta variant is gathering so much attention is that this particular new strain exhibits some significant differences.
Normally, small mutations don’t make a difference in things. There are many components to genetic material and not every single change is significant enough to warrant concern. However, it also isn’t abnormal for some mutations to render new behaviors or exhibitions.
Delta Variant FAQs:
What separates the Delta variant from other COVID-19 infections? There are some alarming things the public should be aware of. Keep in mind that research on the Delta variant is in its infancy so more information may come as studies shed some light on this strain.
So far, it seems as though the Delta variant is significantly more contagious than other variances. The World Health Organization (WHO) claims that this variant is the “fastest and fittest” version of the corona at the moment.
Depending on the variant compared, the Delta strain is anywhere between 40 to nearly 100% more transmissible. Current research suggests this may be due to it producing a higher viral load.
Although symptoms with the Delta variant are comparable to other forms of the corona, there are key differences. First, it appears that loss of smell or taste does not seem as common with this variant.
However, hearing impairment, gastrointestinal issues, and blood clots may be signs of this infection. While it’s debatable if Delta infections are more serious than other infections, ongoing studies investigating the association between corona variants and hospitalization/ death are underway.
Vaccines are still incredibly helpful in battling the Delta strain. Although they don’t entirely prevent Delta variants as much as they do other strains of COVID-19, they do significantly reduce the chance of hospitalization.
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