The fourth wave is gradually taking hold around the world, and what makes this wave different from the others is that it’s been predominantly caused by one single variant—the Delta variant that originated in India.
Ever since this virulent variant was first detected, theories and speculations about its level of transmission have been highly debated and researched. The New York Times revealed that a study conducted by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the US federal health agency, has finally provided concrete conclusions about the transmissibility and severity of this variant.
More contagious than expected
Unfortunately, the findings that have been discovered by the CDC are more alarming than expected. The federal agency has found that the Delta variant is transmitted ‘as easily as chickenpox’ if not more. Chickenpox is a highly contagious disease caused by the varicella-zoster virus.
To compare, when coronavirus first broke out, the original strain was said to be as contagious as the flu and chickenpox is known to spread more easily than the common cold.
Additionally, the study—which was based on data from hospitals in Canada, Scotland, and Singapore—also found that complications from the variant would be more severe than from any other strain of COVID.
The impact of the vaccine
Will the vaccine be able to stop the transmissibility of such a highly contagious mutation? The CDC’s study uncovered that vaccinated people who get infected with the variant are just as likely to transmit it to another person, as a non-vaccinated person. But what is still yet to be determined is the probability of catching the virus as a fully vaccinated individual.
For now, what is known is that in the United States, there have been 35,000 cases of symptomatic infection of the Delta variant among the 162 million that have been inoculated—that’s just 0.02%. On the other hand, figuring out how many vaccinated people have had an asymptomatic infection is close to impossible.
In any case, the CDC has maintained that the best way to protect yourself against the Delta variant is to get the two jabs.