Senior Living Blog

Delta Variant: What We Know About the Science

September 5, 2021

Webster at Rye continues to follow guidance from the New Hampshire Department of Public Health in response to the Delta variant and breakthrough infections among vaccinated people. You can read our most current update here.

We would like to also share the following current information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) about the Delta variant and protective measures we can all take.

The Delta variant is more contagious
The Delta variant is highly contagious, more than twice as contagious as previous variants. It causes more infections and spreads faster than early forms of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

Some data suggest the Delta variant might cause more severe illness than previous variants in unvaccinated people. Most hospitalizations and deaths caused by COVID-19 are in unvaccinated people.

Unvaccinated people remain the greatest concern
The greatest risk of transmission is among unvaccinated people, who are much more likely to get infected, and therefore transmit the virus. Fully vaccinated people get COVID-19 (known as breakthrough infections) less often than unvaccinated people.

Fully vaccinated people with Delta variant breakthrough infections can spread the virus to others
People infected with the Delta variant, including fully vaccinated people with symptomatic breakthrough infections, can transmit the virus to others. The CDC is continuing to assess data on whether fully vaccinated people with asymptomatic breakthrough infections can transmit the virus.

Vaccinated people who have breakthrough infections appear to spread the virus for a shorter time than infected people who have not been vaccinated.

The COVID-19 vaccines approved or authorized in the United States are highly effective at preventing severe disease and death, including against the Delta variant. But they are not 100% effective, and some fully vaccinated people will become infected (a breakthrough infection) and experience illness. For all people, the vaccine provides the best protection against serious illness and death.

Millions of Americans are vaccinated, and that number is growing. This means that even though the risk of breakthrough infections is low, there will be thousands of fully vaccinated people who become infected and able to infect others, especially with the surging spread of the Delta variant. Low vaccination coverage in many communities is driving the current rapid surge in cases involving the Delta variant, which also increases the chances that even more concerning variants could emerge.

Vaccination is the best way to protect yourself, your family, and your community. High vaccination coverage will reduce spread of the virus and help prevent new variants from emerging. CDC recommends that everyone aged 12 years and older get vaccinated as soon as possible.

Given what we know about the Delta variant, vaccine effectiveness, and current vaccine coverage, layered prevention strategies, including wearing masks, are needed to reduce the transmission of this variant.

At this time, as we build the level of vaccination nationwide, we must also use all the prevention strategies available, including masking indoors in public places, to stop transmission and stop the pandemic. Everyone who is able, including fully vaccinated people, should wear masks in public indoor places in areas of substantial or high transmission.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Categories: Senior Health