Breaking down the headlines: Variants
In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, you may have recently heard the term “variant” or “Delta variant.” A variant is a new strain of a virus that develops when the virus changes. One reason the virus continues to circulate is because of the opportunity to infect unvaccinated people. As it circulates, it will continue to change – or mutate – and develop new strains. Some of the strains have been shown to spread to others more easily and quickly than the original. In the US, the Delta variant is currently spreading and is the cause for 83% of all COVID cases, per the CDC.
The good news is that the vaccine protects against the current variants, including the Delta variant. The vaccine continues to provide protection against severe illness, hospitalization, and death. While it’s possible for vaccinated people to catch the virus, severe illness requiring hospitalization is highly unlikely. In fact, vaccinated individuals may not even know they are infected because they may not experience any symptoms. Some reports show that 90 to 99% of all COVID deaths in June were unvaccinated people. While the CDC has not released a statistic, director Dr. Walensky has stated that “nearly all deaths from COVID are preventable.”
But what about those who cannot get vaccinated for medical reasons? Or if you’re a parent, you’re probably concerned about your child(ren) under 12 who aren’t eligible yet. They are certainly at risk of catching the variants – and now the dominant Delta variant. Because the Delta variant is emerging, we don’t know everything; however, one study shows that younger people are more likely to become infected with the Delta variant. Be sure to follow the guidelines outlined by the CDC to stay safe.
Learning about the emerging variants gives us two reasons to get vaccinated: to help stop the virus from having the opportunity to mutate and develop new strains and to protect yourself from getting sick from them… which brings us to our message to you – Stay safe, Vitality!
- If you’re not vaccinated, make today the day you get yours! (If you can’t or decide not to, please continue to practice COVID prevention habits like following local requirements, wearing a mask, watching your distance and washing your hands.)
- If you are vaccinated, continue to practice good prevention habits while stepping back into life, like following local requirements and washing your hands (as well as wearing a mask and watching your distance in higher risk situations.)