The following summarises information from the USA’s Yale Medicine site (dated 13th August 2021).

The Delta variant is a highly contagious COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) virus strain, which was first identified in India in December 2020, before it was identified in England and is now evident in other countries across the globe. It is now the predominant variant of COVID-19.

The USA’s Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has labelled the Delta variant as more concerning than the Alpha strain that first appeared in England, the Beta strain that first surfaced in South Africa, and the Gamma strain identified in Brazil. (The new naming conventions for the variants were established by the World Health Organisation as an alternative to unhelpful place names).

Dr. Wilson, a Yale Medicine epidemiologist, said that in the USA in June 2021, Delta was spreading 50 per cent faster than Alpha, which was 50 per cent more contagious than the original strain of SARS-CoV-2.

“In a completely unmitigated environment, where no one is vaccinated or wearing masks, it’s estimated that the average person infected with the original coronavirus strain will infect 2.5 other people. In the same environment, Delta would spread from one person to maybe 3.5 or 4 other people,” Dr. Wilson said.

According to the CDC, the highest spread of cases and severe outcomes is happening in places with low vaccination rates, and virtually all hospitalisations and deaths have been among the unvaccinated.

CDC advised that the most important thing you can do to protect yourself from Delta is to get fully vaccinated. At this point, you need to get a two-dose vaccine like Pfizer or Astra Zeneca.

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