Houston, TX

3 important things to know about the COVID-19 Delta variant

Marisol Gallagher

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HOUSTON, TX – People must have often heard the news lately about the various variants of the coronavirus that appeared around the world. One thing people need to pay attention to is the Delta variant, also called the B.1.617.2 variant, coming from India.

Various questions may arise, such as: "Where is the spread of this Delta variant? Will the variant trigger another wave? Is it necessary to go back to lockdown? Can this variant be overcome with current vaccines?"

Professor of clinical pathology and genomic medicine at Houston Methodist, Dr. Randy Olsen said, "It may seem like we have more questions than answers when it comes to the SARS-CoV-2 Delta variant right now. But from our research and reports from around the world, we know enough to be concerned about the Delta variant — especially about what it means for those who aren't vaccinated."

Here are three important things that anyone needs to know about the Delta variant of COVID-19, according to Dr. Olsen:

1. The Delta variant is indeed concerning

According to Dr. Olsen, the Delta variant, is 60% more contagious than the Alpha variant, which is also referred to as the UK variant or B.1.1.7 variant, the predominant strain in Houston for the last several months. In addition, this variant is capable of causing more severe diseases.

The rise in infections caused by the Delta variant is an important reminder that the pandemic is not over yet and people who meet certain conditions need to get vaccinated immediately.

2. Current vaccines are highly effective against the Delta variant

Dr. Olsen said, "Overall, research has found that individuals who are fully vaccinated are well-protected from the Delta variant."

"Studies clearly demonstrate that the vaccines used in the US remain highly effective in preventing serious illness and hospitalization," he added.

As a precautionary measure, people are advised to get fully vaccinated. People are said to have been fully vaccinated if they have passed two weeks from receiving the second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or receiving a single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

3. The delta variant is already spreading in Houston and cases are increasing

So far, the Alpha variant has dominated the coronavirus case in Houston. During the last week of June, cases of the Delta variant outnumbered the cases of the Alpha variant.

In his statement, Dr. Olsen warns, "We saw the Delta variant initially enter the Houston community in mid-April. Since then, the number of infections caused by Delta has increased week over week."

"This pattern is similar to what was seen with the Alpha variant here in Houston and in the UK earlier this year, and more recently with the Delta variant in the U.K," he continued.

Dr. Olsen insists that people who haven't been vaccinated should act now as vaccination will protect them from Delta variant and other variants.

Anyone who is 12 years of age or older and meets certain requirements can apply for the vaccine.

Click the following link to schedule a vaccine appointment:

https://www.houstonmethodist.org/texas-vaccine-hub/?inm=vaccineblogs.

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