What We Know About the Delta Variant

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By Dr. Henning Ansorg, M.D., FACP, Health Officer County of Santa Barbara, Department of Public Health

The Delta Variant, the latest virus strain of COVID-19 is of great concern as cases are increasing locally in Santa Barbara County, throughout California and across the U.S. As of the end of July, Santa Barbara County is in the midst of another surge of COVID-19 with daily new cases increasing to over 15 per 100,000 residents and a positivity rate of 7.2%.  The vast majority of these cases are attributed to the Delta variant and, 18–29-year-olds make up the majority of these cases.  Also, more COVID-19 cases are now being detected in the southern part of the county which is in contrast from earlier in the pandemic when the majority of new infections occurred in north county.

Here's what we are learning about the Delta variant and what you need to know to stay safe:

Delta variant is highly contagious especially for the unvaccinated!

The Delta variant accounted for more than 85% of new cases in California and nationally. The new strain of the virus is much more contagious and more easily transmitted. Unvaccinated persons are at greatest risk of infection and illness.

Delta variant symptoms

The symptoms of the Delta variant appear to be the same as the original version of COVID-19. However, physicians are seeing people getting sicker quicker, especially younger people. Recent research found that the Delta variant multiplies more rapidly and leads to much higher viral loads in infected persons compared to the old virus.

Vaccinated people are impacted by the Delta variant

While fully vaccinated persons are well protected from serious illness, they are at risk of getting infected and spreading the virus albeit at a much lower rate compared to unvaccinated people. Currently about 1 in 7 new cases of COVID occurs in a vaccinated person. Usually vaccinated persons will have only mild flu like symptoms. If you experience even mild cold like symptoms, you should get tested as soon as possible an isolate until the results are clear.

Delta variant is affecting unvaccinated people more

Most patients hospitalized locally are people who have not received a COVID-19 vaccine. Nationally, 97% of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 are unvaccinated, as of July 22. In California and across the U.S., data shows that areas with lower vaccination rates tend to have higher COVID-19 hospitalization rates.

If vaccinated people can get Delta, is the vaccine worth it?

Absolutely! The vaccine prevents infection with Delta by 82%. The vaccine prevents serious illness and hospitalization by about 90% and death from COVID by nearly 100%. It is not too late to get vaccinated which is by far the best protection from COVID.

Learn how to schedule your COVID-19 vaccine https://publichealthsbc.org/.

Should I wear a mask even if I am fully vaccinated?

Yes, effective Friday, August 6, 2021, in Santa Barbara County, everyone 2 years of age and older is required to wear a mask in all indoor public settings and shared work places regardless of their vaccination status. The masking mandate is a temporary public health intervention necessary as long as we are seeing such a rapid increase in new cases.

Be safe Santa Barbara County! Mask in public places and encourage your friends, family, neighbors and co-workers to get vaccinated.

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Chip of SB Aug 05, 2021 11:17 AM
What We Know About the Delta Variant

California has been the leader or “hot spot” at one time or another too. I would be careful passing judgement on how other states are handling Covid. This is going to last for many years, and it is far too early to claim California is better than other states. Also, the effectiveness of the vaccine has diminished considerably with the delta variant, and dr. Fauci has already warned new mutations could be even more vaccine resistant. They have already identified “delta plus” and “lambda” strains. Many people still seem to think we can put a stop to covid by vaccinating everyone in the USA, but this is simply not the case. Covid is mutating worldwide. Vaccine resistant strains like delta and potentially lambda originated outside the US. Even if we achieved 100% vaccination here with the existing vaccines, that would not prevent a vaccine resistant mutation from developing among the vast majority of the world’s population that lives outside our borders. https://www.axios.com/fauci-delta-variant-covid-d1c0d550-6624-417d-bde6-33c8f56deaba.html

GeneralTree Aug 05, 2021 11:18 AM
What We Know About the Delta Variant

Florida’s largest hospital systems are expanding their coronavirus units, limiting visitors and fearing staffing shortages as they deal with the statewide surge that is breaking records set last year for both cases and hospitalizations.

Hospitalizations have grown tenfold statewide in just over a month as the more contagious delta variant spreads, with more than 95% of COVID-19 patients unvaccinated, officials said.

“It’s an overwhelming demand in the hospitals right now,” said Mary Mayhew, president of the Florida Hospital Association. “Now we’re dealing with a relatively new variant mutation. The dramatic increase is so different than last summer" when the previous records were set.

GeneralTree Aug 05, 2021 11:17 AM
What We Know About the Delta Variant

VOR making a claim that covid hospitalizations aren't from COVID and providing zero data. Typical = info copied and pasted from far right echo chambers on the dark web.

GeneralTree Aug 05, 2021 11:14 AM
What We Know About the Delta Variant

Sadly, children are being admitted to hospitals in these areas in alarming numbers. The Delta variant is acting differently than what we had seen last year.

Voice of Reason Aug 05, 2021 11:12 AM
What We Know About the Delta Variant

Per the FL hospitals, about half of the covid hospitalizations are people admitted for something other than covid, then received a positive pcr test.

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