According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the COVID-19 Delta variant is currently the most dominant variant in the United States and is a top variant of concern. More infectious than previous strains, the Delta variant has driven a surge of cases across the country, and while COVID-19 vaccines have done an excellent job at curbing some of the viral spread, this new variant has shown to cause breakthrough infections in those vaccinated. With the waning efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines and the threat of even newer COVID-19 variants, it is important that your organization is prepared for the next phase of the pandemic.
What is the New Delta Variant of COVID-19?
The COVID-19 virus has mutated many times since the start of the pandemic in March 2020 even causing more severe disease in some patients. While a vast majority of these mutations haven’t changed the core of the virus, some mutations have increased the virility of the virus leading to surges in infection rates. The latest variant to cause concern is the Delta variant, which has spread rapidly across the United States and in some cases is causing more severe disease. This concern is spurred from the fact that the Delta variant has shown to have a significant increase in virulently compared to previous strains of the virus and, according to the CDC, is twice as contagious as previous iterations. So far, approximately 82% of all new coronavirus infections in the US are of the Delta variant. As of August 20th, 2021, the 7-day case average (133,056 cases) is reportedly 93.9% higher than the peak on July 20th, 2020 (68,636 cases). While this spike in nationwide cases can be attributed to other factors, a large part of this increase can be tied to the higher virility of the Delta-variant.
How Contagious is the Delta-Variant?
A large part of what makes the Delta-variant unique is the mutated spike protein that the virus uses to latch onto cells. According to the CDC, the Delta-variant is twice as infectious as previous variants, and some data is showing that it can cause more severe illness in those who haven’t been vaccinated. While COVID-19 vaccines do offer some degree of protection from the Delta-variant, there have been breakthrough infections amongst vaccinated communities.
All that being said, COVID-19 vaccines still play a significant role in mitigating widespread infections, and when fully vaccinated still offer some protection against the more infectious Delta-variant. Currently available vaccines have reduced efficacy rates in protecting individuals from the Delta variant, with the J&J vaccine being 67% effective, the Moderna vaccine being 72%-95% effective, and the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine being 42-96% effective. However, with only 60% of the U.S. population being fully vaccinated, organizations and communities will need to continue implementing mitigation policies to reduce rising infections and improve immunity.
Reducing Delta Variant Infections
The Delta-variant is spreading rapidly across the country, however, there is a multitude of ways in which you can protect your organization and your communities from infection outbreaks. Of course, the best way to keep infection rates low is to impose continued mask use and social distancing protocols, improving airflow indoors, and limiting the gathering of large groups. Regular sanitation of high-touch and high-traffic areas can also be effective at mitigating the number of infections within communities. Testing your staff on a consistent basis can help to avoid an outbreak before one occurs in earnest. The Delta-variant may be more infectious, but like all variants of COVID-19, the virus’s spread can be hindered by practicing precautionary measures.
If you’re hoping to protect your employees from COVID-19 infections, our team at CNECT can help you save on the tools you need to make it happen. CNECT can provide you with supply-chain expertise and savings that can assist you in purchasing the resources you need to establish infection mitigation protocols and procedures. We also provide our members with timely COVID-19 updates so that they can stay informed and make the best decisions possible for their team. Contact us to learn more about CNECT, and how you can use our free membership to protect your organization from COVID-19.