As countries worldwide slowly began to reopen and get back to normal following the numerous lockdowns caused by COVID-19, a new strain put everything to a halt once more. Delta is a new mutation of the virus that is in almost every country. Most of Australia’s new cases are the Delta variant, causing most of the country to enter into a 2-month lockdown in mid 2021.
With this new mutation, scientists and medical officials see some different symptoms than those found with the “alpha” variant of coronavirus in the earlier stages of the pandemic. As the world braces for the Delta variant, here is what we know now and what to keep in mind:
Different Bodies Means Different Symptoms
As we’ve observed with the early stages of COVID-19, signs and symptoms will vary from person to person. How the virus causes an illness depends on viral factors such as speed of replication and modes of transmission, which can change as the virus evolves. It also depends on host factors, which will be more specific to the individual and have a lot to do with their age, gender, medical co-morbidities, diet, exercise, and even stress levels.
When discussing signs and symptoms of the delta variant, it’s imperative to keep in mind that these refer to the most common amongst the infected population.
Common Signs and Symptoms We Know Now
As medical officials analyse the data of the Delta variant, we’re learning what the new signs and symptoms may be. In the United Kingdom, patients could use a self-reporting system through a mobile app that found the most common COVID symptoms could have changed from the ones associated with the virus before the new mutation.
Fever and cough are still common symptoms, even with Delta. Infected individuals may also experience a headache and sore throat, while they will have a runny nose on rare occasions. With Delta, a loss of smell now ranks ninth most common symptom.
Many factors could cause these changes in symptoms. For one, data were originally gathered from likely much sicker patients, mainly in the hospital. It’s also important to keep in mind that many older age groups are vaccinated, so a large portion of COVID cases are the younger generations who tend to experience milder symptoms. However, these are simply theories, and the reason why the symptoms are evolving and changing remains uncertain.
What This Means For Vaccinated People
Many vaccinated individuals have voiced concerns and questions on whether they are protected from the Delta variant. It’s essential to keep in mind that the new variant will mean the effectiveness of vaccines could be compromised, however, the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines appear to continue to offer very high protection against severe COVID (hospitalisation) and death from COVID, and still reasonable protection against symptomatic COVID after the second dose of vaccination.
When looking back on a recent “superspreader” event in New South Wales, we can see why it’s so important to be vaccinated. Out of the 30 people at the party, only 6 were vaccinated and none of the vaccinated people contracted the virus. According to reports, the 24 people who did not have the vaccine were infected with the Delta variant.
However, those vaccinated should still take precautions. Even when vaccinated, in some cases, an infection is still possible after vaccination, albeit a lower risk. Those vaccinated who contract the virus are likely to experience a lower viral load with much milder symptoms than those unvaccinated.
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