The CDC is tracking a new variant of the virus that causes COVID-19 called Delta, or B.1.617.2. The Delta variant is estimated to be up to 70% more infections than B117/alpha, which was already more transmissible than previous viral strains. As of July 3, the Delta variant accounted for at least 57.6% of new COVID-19 infections in the U.S. It has now become the dominant strain in Indiana.
While the Delta variant is more infectious, preliminary data suggest that after two doses, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is 88% effective against symptomatic disease and 96% effective against hospitalization from the Delta variant. Those receiving one dose only saw 36% reduced risk of symptomatic infection. While there has not been reported data on the vaccine efficacy (VE) of the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines against the Delta variant, effectiveness for two doses of the Moderna vaccine is expected to be similar to two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is expected to show similar VE as a single dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine. The AstraZeneca vaccine showed 67% reduced risk of symptomatic disease and 92% reduced risk for hospitalization after two doses; one dose was only 30% effective at preventing the symptomatic disease from the Delta variant.
The most common symptoms associated with COVID-19 infections from the Delta variant may be different than previously reported COVID-19 symptoms. Headache, sore throat, runny nose, fever, and cough were the top five reported. A runny nose, which has always been a rarely reported symptom was more common, and loss of taste and smell was less commonly reported. get tested if you have any of the mentioned symptoms, have been a close contact, or suspect you have been exposed. Limited data is currently available on the severity of disease caused by the Delta variant.
Get vaccinated as soon as you can to help stop the spread of COVID-19.