The Delta variant of the Sars-COV-2 virus which is presently spreading all over the United States is deadlier and more contagious than the alpha variant and is causing more infections among the unvaccinated.
Delta Variant Leads Hospitalizations Among The Unvaccinated
A study of the medical records of 40,000 patients in the United Kingdom, 20% of whom were infected by the delta variant, showed that people infected with the delta variant had a more severe infection and required hospitalization.
These people had been infected between March to May 2021. Dr. Anne Prosanis, a statistician at the MRC Biostatistics Unit of the University of Cambridge, remarked that their study highlights the fact that any variant of the Delta strain of the Sar-COV-2 virus will impose a larger burden on the healthcare system than the alpha variant.
A similar study led by Dr. Carlos Del Rio, Executive Assistant Dean of the Emory School of medicine and the Grady Health System in Atlanta, Georgia in the United States, led to the same observations that the delta variant was dominant in terms of infections and more hospitalization. The Delta variant of the Sars-COV-2 virus was first identified in the United States in March 2021 and had become the dominant strain by July. Most of the infections were among children and young adults. Children below the age of 12 years are still unvaccinated.
The Pfizer vaccine is presently authorized for children up to the age of 12 years and authorization of vaccination for children from the age of 5 to 11 years are expected by winter this year.
The Delta variant of the Sars-COV-2 virus is believed to have originated in India late last year and quickly spread across most of the world.
Preliminary studies from Scotland and Canada have also led to the findings that the Delta variant of Covid-19 is more infectious and leading to more hospitalization. Findings also show that the Delta variant of the Sars-COV-2 virus causes more spread among the unvaccinated than the previous alpha variant.
Right now, more than 90% of the hospitalized cases of patients with Covid-19 are from the Delta variant. Scientists are the most worried that the Delta strain of the Sars-COV-2 virus could mutate to a stage where the existing vaccines could be rendered ineffective. Studies, however, show that the Delta variant is causing mild infection and asymptomatic gestation even in vaccinated people who act as spreaders, and hence unvaccinated people are at risk even from vaccinated people.
Though Dr. Rochelle Walensky, Director of the American Centre of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is continuing to call this pandemic the pandemic of the unvaccinated, studies have shown that the key to controlling transmission and preventing the further mutation of the Sar-COV-2 virus is to rigorously follow all the Covid protocol that includes wearing of masks for all, social distancing, washing hands and even proper ventilation in offices and schools in addition to vaccination.
In the midst of the increased rush for vaccinations, tens of thousands of vaccine doses in several states in the US are about to expire. In the state of Arkansas where only 38% have been vaccinated, there are a lot of supplied vaccines that have expired and many more about to expire. A similar scenario was observed in the state of Mississippi which has the lowest rate of vaccination of 35% in the United States. Health officials in the state of Mississippi have admitted to more than 40,000 expired doses of vaccines having to be discarded. 35,147 expired doses of vaccines have also been discarded in the state of Alabama where the rate of vaccination is still lower at 34%. A large number of expired doses have also been discarded in the states of Idaho, Iowa, and Oregon.
The US administration is now relocating excess vaccines to a central pool from where they can be sourced to areas where there are shortages of vaccines. Such large-scale discarding of vaccines is a national loss as a single dose of the Pfizer vaccine costs $ 19.5 and a Moderna dose costs $15. The pressing need around the world is to find an effective cure and an effective vaccine along with strict enforcement of Covid protocols to prevent any further mutation or spread of the Sars-COV-2 virus.