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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buckwheat Aug 06, 2021 10:28 PM
What We Know About the Delta Variant

Overpopulation is causing so much stress that Mother Nature needs to do what she can to alleviate the problem. Think about her options: drought, famine, disease? She is performing as expected by exercising all her options. Maybe her greatest trick will be Covid 19! Earth cannot sustain the kind of exponential growth that has been occurring. Mother nature will "thin the herd"!

LooseCannon Aug 06, 2021 05:39 PM
What We Know About the Delta Variant

Today's Guardian:

"Experts say so-called breakthrough cases remain rare, and deaths among vaccinated people are ‘effectively zero’":


Andrea Smith Aug 06, 2021 11:19 AM
What We Know About the Delta Variant

It just came out that the mRNAs are about 60% effective against Delta, overall, at preventing infection [asymptomatic or mild/moderate depending], but near 100% effective against severe illness and death. Long Covid is still a threat in about 20% of the vaccinated, but viral load does go down much sooner in the vaccinated [about 6 days]. Whether or not time/waning of protection of vaccine is a factor is being considered.

SBLetsGetAlong Aug 06, 2021 06:39 AM
What We Know About the Delta Variant

NYC Aug 21 Big Concert in Central Park sponsored by CNN.
NY has a large outbreak.
Why would they hold a large super spreader event?

SBTownie Aug 05, 2021 07:33 PM
What We Know About the Delta Variant

Blood clot? Come on. That's like a 1/1,000,000 chance and can't even truly be interpreted as causal. And for the record, risks from "normal" medications people take every day like hormonal birth control are FAR higher in terms of clotting risk. But people like you don't care about facts so why am I even wasting my time.

x01660 Aug 05, 2021 05:21 PM
What We Know About the Delta Variant

Your car breaks down = Go to a mechanic
Your phone or computer breaks down = Go to a computer tech
Your toilet backs up = Go to a plumber
Your house foundation needs fixing = Go to a contractor
Your huge wedding needs planning = Go to a wedding planner
You want to build a bridge over a river = Go to an engineer
You wanna protect your health = Go to politicians and facebook and eschew doctors

Am I missing something here?

bicyclist Aug 05, 2021 10:13 PM
What We Know About the Delta Variant

Actually the whole list requires "Research" on Facebook... /S
XO1660 the examples were perfect & appreciated!

SBLetsGetAlong Aug 05, 2021 05:12 PM
What We Know About the Delta Variant

“ fully vaccinated persons are ... at risk of getting infected and spreading the virus”

For all of those that said this was “impossible” guess what, “they” don’t know. They are once again guessing at rushed implementations.

Good thing clinical trials go on for another year or more. This way we can truly know what the mRNA protects against & what side affects can be expected.

Babycakes Aug 05, 2021 04:31 PM
What We Know About the Delta Variant

The armchair wannabe “medical experts” with zero medical training say:
"COVID came from a US taxpayer-supported top-secret Chinese Military laboratory that plays with infectious diseases."

The world’s ACTUAL top experts in vaccine technology and infectious disease say:
"Covid came from a wet market where they sell bats that people eat, and those bats naturally carry this disease. This was NOT/NOT/NOT man made."

Experts? No thank you!

dukemunson Aug 05, 2021 04:56 PM
What We Know About the Delta Variant

Baby - it might be time to update your reading/thinking. As per CNN today:

For now, senior intelligence officials still say that they are genuinely split between the two prevailing theories on the pandemic's origins, or some combination of both scenarios. CNN reported last month that senior Biden administration officials overseeing the 90-day review now believe the theory that the virus accidentally escaped from a lab in Wuhan is at least as credible as the possibility that it emerged naturally in the wild -- a dramatic shift from a year ago, when Democrats publicly downplayed the so-called lab leak theory.


SBgal74 Aug 05, 2021 04:17 PM
What We Know About the Delta Variant

This virus carries on and will continue to mutate because of people’s REFUSAL to follow sound medical advice, reason and logic. Misinformation abounds and armchair wannabe “medical experts” with zero medical training think they know better than the world’s ACTUAL top experts in vaccine technology and infectious disease. I’m not sure when science became so political but clearly folks within a certain party decided it’s somehow “liberal” thinking to believe in science aka factual information. The bottom line is, dangerous variants will continue to develop in this environment where NOT ENOUGH PEOPLE ARE GETTING VACCINATED. For those who still want to quibble about what the mortality rate is? Are you serious? How many people need to die before you find your humanity? Just grow up already and do your part to help out #TeamEndCovid.

dukemunson Aug 05, 2021 04:27 PM
What We Know About the Delta Variant

Sbgal- the virus carries on and mutates because that’s what viruses do. The worlds actual top experts all agree it’s here to stay. So yes get vaccinated, but your post doesn’t actually jive with the reality that we are all facing. While some on the far right bury their heads in the sand, some on the far left are also wildly ignoring reality by thinking Covid is about to be “ended”.

gcheadley Aug 05, 2021 02:43 PM
What We Know About the Delta Variant

Florida had 2,065 adults and 47 children admitted to hospitals yesterday followed by Texas in a close 2nd with 1,318 adults and 40 children. I'm sure it has nothing to do with both state Governors declaring mask mandates illegal.

dukemunson Aug 05, 2021 04:32 PM
What We Know About the Delta Variant

We’re following the same trajectory (just two weeks behind) with skyrocketing numbers… who will we blame for that GT?

Chip of SB Aug 05, 2021 04:07 PM
What We Know About the Delta Variant

Hard to say. I remember when California was leading the nation in Covid cases despite having one of the strictest sets of face cover requirements and lockdown policies. I would be surprised if masks can stop the virus from doing what viruses do

dukemunson Aug 05, 2021 03:14 PM
What We Know About the Delta Variant

And we’re on the same trajectory (just 2 weeks behind) as Covid doesn’t care who the president or governor is…

CoastWatch Aug 05, 2021 12:59 PM
What We Know About the Delta Variant

For what ever reason, it is VERY difficult to find hard data on mortality rates for those without pre-existing medical conditions... I can tell you factually, that 28 humans under the age of 18 have died in the State of California. The census stated 9.2 million humans under the age of 18 in CA- That is not counting undocumented / unverified.
I can also tell you that the National average for the mortality of those under 18 yrs old drowning is 800 per year...

Andrea Smith Aug 05, 2021 11:52 AM
What We Know About the Delta Variant

Last night I was talking to a friend who is in the medical field, and she is friends with a pulmonary specialist who works in ICU in Louisiana somewhere, and he told her heartbreaking stories of people asking if they can get vaccinated before he has to intubate them. It's sad because while we like to mock and demonize people there are some who literally are not informed and/or who have been fooled by the evil people spreading misinformation about these vaccines and then they find out too late that Covid is real, it can kill you and vaccines work [but you can't get them while you are sick obviously nor would it help]. At this point anyone who is misleading people about these vaccines should be ostracized from our society. It is just plain evil to mislead people for your own attention perhaps to their deaths.

Andrea Smith Aug 06, 2021 10:00 AM
What We Know About the Delta Variant

4738 people who get measles for the most part have the same type of symptoms, same w/ polio, mumps, flu. Not Covid. I know doctors who were on the frontlines in the ERs/ICUs who said the same thing. They've never seen a virus behave this way.

a-1628224738 Aug 05, 2021 09:38 PM
What We Know About the Delta Variant

How is the world supposed to know how this virus affects people; how its symptoms vary, if it's new?!
Other new viruses and epidemics were new also. This doesn't indicate, let alone prove, anything about the virus's origins.

Andrea Smith Aug 05, 2021 05:37 PM
What We Know About the Delta Variant

PITMIX if this did originate from dangerous gain of function research that is frowned upon for the most part we have a right to know. Everyone I know has said this is a strange virus, how it impacts some and not other s and how symptoms can vary unlike normal viruses where they know what the symptoms are going to be. Some lose taste/smell only, I know several ppl who had NO respiratory issues, others who did, etc. it goes on. If this is some half baked frankenvirus we need to know because that could also make the difference in vaccines and the like. Plus, maybe the more ppl think this is a frankenvirus hatched in a lab maybe they will get vaccinated after all.

Andrea Smith Aug 05, 2021 05:03 PM
What We Know About the Delta Variant

CHIP OF SB I never said anything about censorship. Historically people are ostracized [i.e. driven of of town and the like] for anti social behavior. You don't have to censor them to do this, you just have to use various tools to ostracize them to correct their behavior or get them to stop or leave themselves. For example, not following them, not commenting, ganging up on them, whatever it takes at this point. It's one thing to explore theories and the like but quite another to deliberately and falsely mislead people like someone I know on FB who does this daily, every post is about how vaccines don't work and it's sickening to me.

PitMix Aug 05, 2021 04:21 PM
What We Know About the Delta Variant

Let's say that the virus originated in that lab. Does that actually change anything? It might make people less cautious about mixing a bunch of animals carrying viruses in a wet market, which would make it more likely another pandemic would occur in the future. But does it change what we have to do now? Not a whit.

GeneralTree Aug 05, 2021 03:23 PM
What We Know About the Delta Variant

Chip says don't make vaccination about politics - but then he jumps right in talking about Biden. "Mass Censorship" ?
Slow your roll pal, cry me a river.

Chip of SB Aug 05, 2021 03:10 PM
What We Know About the Delta Variant

Sac, I agree that private entities are entitled to do as they wish. However, Facebook, google, and the like have blurred the lines between public and private. Now, the biden administration is actively working with Facebook to censor misinformation. Keep in mind, it was not long ago that Facebook, major media organizations, and the government were working together to suppress and suggestion the covid originated in the wuhan coronavirus laboratory. I don’t like the spread of false information either, but government-industry collaboration for censorship will make things much worse than our traditional free speech approach.

sacjon Aug 05, 2021 02:39 PM
What We Know About the Delta Variant

CHIP - calm down, not talking about "mass censorship," but we need to stop the spread of dangerous misinformation. People are dying because of it. What do you suggest?

Remember, if a private platform has a rule against posting misinformation (or anything really), it is perfectly within its rights to remove that language. Not censorship.

Chip of SB Aug 05, 2021 01:46 PM
What We Know About the Delta Variant

I’ll filter through lies and misinformation to make my own determinations about what is right and what is wrong any day. I’m shocked that people are actually advocating for the implementation of mass censorship. If you think that’s a good idea, talk to someone who has lived in a country like China that maintains strict regulation of speech to protect against the spread of harmful and misleading information.

dukemunson Aug 05, 2021 12:46 PM
What We Know About the Delta Variant

And on the left the lies were and will be used to close and shut down things without thought or care. If only a logical middle ground could be found…

sacjon Aug 05, 2021 12:09 PM
What We Know About the Delta Variant

ANDREA - Yes! We need to silence the lies that are killing people. There are people who are so brainwashed with "the truth," they won't even listen to their doctors or their families pleading them to get vaxxed. How many have died from the lies spread by politicians and other conspiracy theorists? It's almost criminal. A lot of Americans are simple and extremely gullible. They don't deserve to die and it breaks my heart to think of that.

Yeti Aug 05, 2021 11:25 AM
What We Know About the Delta Variant

Why is it that in this case, the County Department of Public Health , does not mention the actual
Mortality Rate of the Delta Variant infections? I read something recently that said the mortality rate of this variant is Less than 1%... IS This the case? If so, why are we making such a big deal out of this?
Seniors, first responders, teachers and around 70% of US Citizens have had at least 1 shot. The rest can just get sick and move on?

IS the goal of not discussing the actual mortality rate, to scare more people into getting the vaccination? If so, I am all for it, but I believe that they should always practice full and fair disclosure.

CanyonKid Aug 05, 2021 01:47 PM
What We Know About the Delta Variant

DukeM, You're correct, and those percentages are of the reported COVID cases. With 40-60% of all infections being asymptomatic (depending what stats you look up), the mortality rate is realistically (much) lower.

PitMix Aug 05, 2021 12:20 PM
What We Know About the Delta Variant

1% of 30% of 340M people is 1,020,000 people! Plus many more people will have long term side effects from being sick, affecting their lives greatly. The cost of all of this in $ and medical staff stress will be very high.

Are you really saying that a MILLION deaths and millions more long haulers is okay with you?

dukemunson Aug 05, 2021 11:50 AM
What We Know About the Delta Variant

I haven’t seen anywhere listed by county. CDC has posted it for quite some time… but haven’t seen it (officially) broken down by county.

GeneralTree Aug 05, 2021 11:36 AM
What We Know About the Delta Variant

Yeti - which counties in the US are currently publishing the mortality rate of the Delta Variant infections? We'll wait.

dukemunson Aug 05, 2021 11:27 AM
What We Know About the Delta Variant

Yeti - The Covid mortality rate has been, and continues to be, around 1/2 of 1%...with the being much higher for people over 70 and much much lower for those under 50. That hasn't changed...

GeneralTree Aug 05, 2021 10:42 AM
What We Know About the Delta Variant

Florida and Texas account for about a third of new cases across the country. Texas recorded more than 15,000 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, its highest one-day total in six months, according to state data. Meanwhile, the Florida Hospital Association reported more than 17,000 new COVID-19 cases in the state and 11,515 COVID-19 patients hospitalized as of Wednesday, with 86% of inpatient ICU beds in use.

But it’s not just Florida and Texas that are seeing a rapid rise in cases fueled by the Delta Variant. States including Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Oklahoma and South Carolina have seen confirmed COVID-19 cases jump more than 100% in the past two weeks.

a-1628224270 Aug 05, 2021 09:31 PM
What We Know About the Delta Variant

No, Chip, but vaccination would slow hospitalization.
Remember when we cheered health care workers? Now they're back in a desperate overwhelmed situation. Many of them feel we're giving them the ... disrespect.
And they are right.

LCP112233 Aug 05, 2021 03:46 PM
What We Know About the Delta Variant

Yes. Funny how those folks snicker and poke fun at Conservative states, while denying what they are doing in any way. Epitome of ignorance. We are all in this together. But they are so full of hate, all they can do is make snide comments towards people and states that they hate so much.

dukemunson Aug 05, 2021 12:48 PM
What We Know About the Delta Variant

Sac - I think it was the comment about states, which seemed to ignore that California is up over 98% in the last two weeks…

sacjon Aug 05, 2021 12:20 PM
What We Know About the Delta Variant

BABYCAKES - what are you talking about? Who's "gloating and giddy" about people dying? You're really grasping at straws here.

Babycakes Aug 05, 2021 11:42 AM
What We Know About the Delta Variant

The vast majority of those who are now getting Covid are POC, so it makes no sense to me why some of you appear to be gloating and giddy that they are getting sick and dying. Are you so political that you cannot see straight? What happened to you people and why are you are consumed with hate and unhappiness? Get vaccinated people!!!

GeneralTree Aug 05, 2021 11:21 AM
What We Know About the Delta Variant

CHIP " I would be careful passing judgement on how other states are handling Covid. " Not sure I saw anyone pass judgement. More a notice of just how serious the surge is. Those dying from COVID now are overwhelmingly the unvaccinated.


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