COVID-19 has completely upended our lives for almost two years now, forever changing the way we both live and work. Now, in the United States, the Delta variant is the primary strain of COVID-19 and has brought with it a surge of new cases. Here’s everything you need to know about the Delta variant, including the best practices for preventing it:
The Delta variant is extremely contagious.
According to the CDC, the Delta variant of COVID-19 is as much as 50 times more contagious than the original Alpha variant.
The Delta variant has the same symptoms as previous strains of COVID-19.
The symptoms associated with the Delta variant are similar to the previous strains of COVID-19, including:
- Sore throat
- Loss of taste
- Loss of smell
Symptoms might be more severe with the Delta variant.
Some research has shown that the Delta variant affects people faster and more severely, especially younger people. It is still early in the research process, but at least one study has correlated the Delta variant to an increase in hospitalizations and deaths.
There are other variants and subvariants of COVID-19.
While the United States is still grappling with how to handle the increase of COVID-19 cases due to the Delta variant, there are other variants and subvariants already beginning to take hold.
- Delta Plus, a subvariant of Delta, originated in India but is now present in over a dozen countries, including the U.S., U.K., and Germany. Delta Plus has a mutation that intensifies its attack on the lungs and makes it invisible to vaccines.
- The Epsilon variant was first identified in Southern California but has now traveled to over 30 countries. Its mutations make it resistant to current COVID-19 treatments and vaccinations. Luckily, the Epsilon variant doesn’t seem to be as contagious as the Delta variant.
- Lambda variant was first found in Peru in August of 2020, and has since ravaged South America. It appears similar to other COVID-19 variants in research. However, it only accounts for around 1% of current U.S. COVID-19 cases.
Wearing masks, hand washing, social distancing, and vaccination are still the best preventive measures against all COVID-19 variants.
Even though there has been wavering guidance on wearing masks in the United States, the science is clear. Wearing an approved mask is a simple, easy way to prevent COVID-19 transmission, including the Delta variant.
Hand washing has always been a great way to prevent disease transmission, and the Delta variant is no different. Wash your hands often for at least 20 seconds with soap and warm water, then dry them with a clean towel or air drying device. Use hand sanitizer when you don’t have access to running water.
Social distancing has proven itself as an effective COVID-19 transmission prevention technique since last year. Staying 6-feet apart has given everyone a little room to breathe easier.
Finally, vaccinations are still recommended for everyone over 12 years old as the best method to prevent COVID-19 infection and transmission. While research into current vaccine effectiveness on the Delta variants and other variants is still being done, the results so far look promising. Some doctors are recommending a booster shot of the vaccine for already fully vaccinated people to give extra protection against the Delta variant.
The effects from COVID-19 will be felt for decades to come.
Scientists agree we will be dealing with the fallout from COVID-19 and all of its variants for years in the future. We can expect that with the emergence of new variants, masks, social distancing, and handwashing protocols will remain a part of everyday life while vaccines will continue to adapt and progress.
Get tested for COVID-19 in St. Petersburg today.
At AFC Urgent Care in St. Petersburg, we offer COVID-19 testing services free for most patients, regardless of their insurance (Sorry, but we do not offer free testing services to Medicaid patients). We offer two types of tests to identify an active coronavirus infection:
- SARS-CoV-2 Nucleic Amplification Diagnostic Test
Free for all patients, except those receiving Medicaid, this test will provide results in a few days, depending on lab workload.
- Abbott ID NOW Rapid Nucleic Amplification Diagnostic Test
This quick test provides results in about 15 minutes and uses technology so reliable even major sports leagues are using it. However, this test is not covered by most insurers, so be prepared to pay the $95 fee when choosing this rapid-result test.
We also offer a Serology Antibody Testing that shows proof of past COVID-19 infection and current immunity. However, research around immunity provided by past coronavirus infection is still being done. Most insurers cover this antibody testing at no cost to the patient (except Medicaid).The results of the Serology Antibody Test are available in 3-5 business days, depending on laboratory workload.
If you need COVID-19 testing for a possible active infection, to prove you are not infected for a social event, or to show evidence of antibodies, contact us to schedule your testing appointment today. You can even get in line before you even arrive at our office. We are proud to help Tampa Bay stay ahead of COVID-19 and all its variants for years to come.