The COVID-19 pandemic has been with us for over one-and-a-half years. As the Delta variant and other strains of the coronavirus emerge, we still need to be wary of spreading the virus to others in the community.
The main difference between the original COVID-19 virus and the Delta variant is a mutation on the virus’s protein spikes. The spike attaches to the surface of a cell—called ACE2—which normally regulates blood pressure. When a protein spike from a virus attaches to the wall, it allows the virus to enter and reproduce. The Delta variant produces more virus per infected cell, leading to more viral load per person.
According to Yale Medicine, the Delta variant now makes up more than 80% of the COVID-19 cases in the US.
According to Yale Medicine, the Delta variant now makes up more than 80% of the COVID-19 cases in the US. Because it is almost two times as contagious as the original COVID-19 virus, it spreads much quicker and grows exponentially. This leads to local outbreaks that create dense hotspots of the virus. This generally happens in areas with a low percentage of vaccinated people, which lets the virus infect more people and spread easier.
Vaccinations are the best way to combat the spread of the Delta variant. Although they do not 100% neutralize the virus, they still prevent severe side effects and even death. Soon, booster shots will be available to those who need them and will help protect people in the future. On a more worrisome note, breakthrough infections are becoming more common. But the vaccinated individuals who suffer from a breakthrough infection have less severe symptoms and are less likely to need to go to a hospital.
Masks are still going to be instrumental in combating the new variant. The effectiveness of masks has not been reduced and still are effective at preventing the spread of the virus. As the Delta variant continues to spread, we all need to continue to be wary and careful of spreading this easily transmissible disease. Although the majority of students and faculty are vaccinated, the Delta variant still has the capabilities to spread within us and shut down the school.