Delta variant listed as 'variant of concern' by CDC
The Delta variant accounts for roughly 10% of US COVID-19 cases
June 17, 2021
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Tuesday announced that the Delta variant of COVID-19, also known as B.1.617.2, is being monitored as a “variant of concern.” The variant was currently designated as a “variant of interest.”
A ‘variant of concern’ designation is reserved for strains of the virus that scientists believe are more transmissible, or may cause more severe disease. Current vaccines, treatments and tests may be less effective against the emerging strain, according to the CDC website.
Over the past few months, COVID-19 cases have been declining in the US, but, as of June 5, the Delta variant accounted for 9.9% of all cases, based on data presented by the CDC. The variant has become the dominant strain in India, where it was first discovered in December of 2020, as well as in the United Kingdom, and is infecting young people more frequently. Health officials in the United States are concerned that the Delta variant could become the dominant strain in the US, based on current trends.
Typical COVID-19 symptoms, including cough, fever, and loss of taste or smell are in line with the Delta variant, however, Professor Tim Spector, who runs the Zoe Covid Symptom Study, said that the Delta variant can feel ‘more like a bad cold’ for younger people, in a June, 2021 interview with the BBC. Other symptoms include muscle aches, a new continuous cough, a high temperature, headache, loss of appetite, and chills are all associated with the variant. Gastrointestinal issues, including nausea, diarrhea, and abdominal pain are some of the more severe symptoms.
According to data shared by the BBC, the Pfizer and AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective against the Delta variant. AstraZeneca is not yet approved for use in the United States. A study published in the Lancet indicated that the Pfizer vaccine provided up to 79% protection against the Delta variant in fully-vaccinated individuals.
The UW Medicine’s Virology Lab is tracking the spread of the Delta variant, reporting that there have been 170 cases detected. Washington is one of 29 states that has confirmed cases of the variant.