What You Need to Know About the Delta Variant

The Delta variant is quickly on the rise here in the United States. A doctor for the Cleveland Clinic explains why that's of concern and how you can protect yourself.

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CLEVELAND – The Delta variant, which is considered highly contagious, has become the dominant strain of COVID-19 here in the United States. According to the CDC, it now accounts for 51% of cases reported.

“The Delta variant is a concern, similar to the other variants, because it’s more transmissible and we’re trying to figure out if it causes worse disease or not. But the big concern is the transmissibility – that if one person gets it, potentially they could spread it to more people,” said Daniel Rhoads, MD, Section Head of Microbiology for Cleveland Clinic.

Dr. Rhoads said researchers still have a lot to learn about the Delta variant. However, they do know that it is quickly spreading among unvaccinated individuals and can be quite severe for older adults.

Symptoms for the Delta variant also appear to be different. People tend to experience headaches, sore throat and a runny nose, much like you would see with the common cold.

Dr. Rhoads said if you haven’t been vaccinated yet, now is a good time. The vaccine may not be completely fullproof, but it will give you the best chance for protection and lower your risk for hospitalization.

“The evidence is that if they do get infected after they have been vaccinated, their disease is unlikely to be severe. It looks like vaccines are really good at preventing severe disease. They’re also very good at preventing infection,” he explained.

Dr. Rhoads said even though hospitalizations and case numbers overall are down right now, he does expect to see another rise this fall as the Delta variant continues to spread.

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