The COVID-19 Delta Variant and What You Should Know

By Carolina Boyd, Communications Associate

After more than a year spent in pandemic lockdown, life seems to be getting back to a pre-COVID-19 activity level. However, the SARS-CoV-2 delta variant is causing growing concern about a resurgence of the virus.

First identified in India in December of 2020, the delta variant (also known as B. 1.617.2) swept rapidly through that country and Great Britain. In March of 2021, the first delta variant related case was reported in the United States. It is now present in all 50 states and considered the dominant strain across the country.

“The delta variant is attributed with increased transmissibility meaning it is more likely to spread from one susceptible person to another,” said Dr. Vandana Shrikanth, Infection Control Specialist at Legacy Community Health. “In an environment where no one is vaccinated or wearing masks the delta variant can spread quickly.”

The delta variant may cause more severe disease needing hospitalization. Unvaccinated people are most at risk for contracting the delta variant. That includes the elderly, those with underlying health conditions and children under the age of 12, who are not currently eligible for vaccination.

“The best protection against the delta variant is being fully vaccinated. Get your first dose now, if you are not already vaccinated. If you have received your first dose, you are strongly urged to get the second dose,” said Shrikanth.

Doctors across the US have reported that COVID-19 patients infected with the delta variant have been experiencing different symptoms than those found in earlier coronavirus patients.  Instead of the symptoms of loss of taste and smell reported with the first COVID-19 symptoms, patients infected with the delta variant are more likely to experience nasal congestion, sore throat and headache during the initial stages of the virus.

“The current COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective in protecting against severe disease which in turn reduces the need for hospitalization,” said Shrinkanth. “If you think you may have been exposed to someone with SARS-CoV-2 delta variant and develop symptoms after being fully vaccinated, you should get tested and isolate until test results.”

Legacy provides COVID-19 vaccines at many of its clinic locations. To get a COVID-19 vaccine, you must be 12 or older. Walk-in vaccinations are available at some locations but you are encouraged to schedule an appointment. Visit our website or call 832-548-5000 for more information.