The Delta variant of COVID-19 has driven a new wave of infections, causing 80-87% of all cases in the United States in the last two weeks of July according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This highly infectious variant has led to widespread concern with many schools reconvening from summer break and people returning to the workplace after a year of remote work.
The Delta variant is still being studied and data is still being collected about this strain. We’re taking a look at what we know about this variant, how it is different from the original strain, and answering some common questions about Delta.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) notes that with each new virus strain symptoms appear to be similar. These COVID-19 symptoms include:
This list does not include all the possible symptoms, so be sure to consult your doctor about any specific medical advice. There have been a wide range of symptoms reported from mild to severe.
Studies have shown that fever, headache, sore throat, and runny nose are the most common symptoms of the Delta variant. Excessive sneezing is also a symptom. Cough and loss of smell, a symptom that has become a hallmark of COVID-19, are not as common. Some symptoms that have not typically been seen in COVID patients, like hearing impairment, severe gastric upsets, and blood clots leading to gangrene have been linked by doctors in India to the Delta variant.
While Delta looks and acts similarly to the original strain of COVID-19, preliminary data shows that the Delta variant may cause more severe illness in unvaccinated people. In fact, a study from Scotland showed that the risk of hospital admission for those with the Delta variant was approximately double that of those with the first strain of SARS-CoV-19. Initial studies indicate that in comparison with the previously dominant virus, Delta produces higher viral loads earlier in infection, leading to more severe cases for unvaccinated people.
Delta variant symptoms in children present differently from the original strain, according to Texas Children’s Hospital. Adolescents have been observed to have more upper respiratory congestion and congestive symptoms and less loss of taste and smell. Any child with symptoms consistent with an upper respiratory tract infection should be evaluated for SARS-CoV-19.
In addition to these symptom changes, there is data that shows the Delta variant is 40-60% more transmissible than the Alpha variant and nearly twice as transmissible as the original COVID-19 strain. The CDC warns that the Delta variant is more contagious, with unvaccinated people at the greatest risk for contracting and transmitting the virus.
Studies are ongoing, but current data suggests that all individuals infected with the Delta variant can transmit whether vaccinated or unvaccinated. However, vaccinated people are likely to be not as infectious for less time, and the amount of virus produced by Delta breakthrough infections goes down faster than infections in unvaccinated populations. Delta variant symptoms in vaccinated adults tend to be less severe than unvaccinated adults who contract this strain.
COVID-19 testing generally only screen for SARS-CoV-2 without going in depth to find out what variant the individual has contracted. In order to determine the variant, a special test known as genomic sequencing must be performed in order to identify the specific strain that an individual has in their system.
When looking for a COVID-19 test, it is important to get the information you need from the results. At BioCollections Worldwide, our SARS-CoV-19 panel covers all the strains of COVID as well as checking for strains of flu. Our tests include the variant information at no additional cost.
BioCollections has been on the frontline of researching diseases and developing tests for over 20 years. Our feet on the ground approach led to our testing facilities being the first lab in the United States to begin processing COVID-19 tests when the pandemic started. Our testing process is fast and accurate, with our average wait time for results standing at 11 hours. Get the peace of mind and trusted insight into your health with BioCollections. Our facilities are located in:
Contact us today for prompt, high quality COVID-19 testing.