Published: 05th July 2021
What the FAQ: Who is at a higher risk of contracting COVID's Delta variant? Here's all you need to know
Delta is more contagious than previous variants and there’s evidence. Here we look at all its symptoms, who is at a higher risk and more
The Delta variant is the most closely watched Coronavirus mutation yet and with good reason: It’s more contagious than previous variants and there’s evidence it increases the risk of hospitalisation and is more resistant to vaccines. Last week, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned that Delta is the fastest and fittest Coronavirus strain yet, and it will "pick off" the most vulnerable people, especially in places with low COVID-19 vaccination rates.
Who is at a higher risk of contracting the COVID Delta variant?
A detailed study conducted by Scottish researchers last month showed that the delta variant doubles the risk of hospitalisation compared with the previously dominant variant in the UK. The study was published in the leading medical journal The Lancet. It said that those with comorbidities and old age are at increased risk of contracting the Delta variant. Public Health England (PHE) also described the vulnerable group, claiming that the young and unvaccinated are at increased risk of getting infected with the strain. They also said that two doses of vaccine provide much better protection than one dose against the Delta variant.
What about vaccinations?
Data from England shows that cases of the Delta variant were found in both partially and even fully vaccinated people, to a lesser extent, showing the importance of being fully vaccinated. Out of the 92,029 total infections attributed to Delta, almost 20,000 were recorded in people who had received one dose of a COVID vaccine (both before and following 21 days after a first dose) and 7,235 infections were confirmed in people who had received two doses.
What are the changes in symptoms?
A runny nose is a new symptom that might be caused by the Delta variant as it was rarely reported as a symptom in earlier data, while loss of smell that was quite common earlier ranks ninth now. According to reports, the current top five symptoms of COVID-19 are:
Why have the symptoms changed?
Research has highlighted several possible reasons behind this change, including that of the evolution of the virus. But she also takes into account that these mild symptoms are possibly reported by younger people as senior citizens in the United Kingdom are now mostly inoculated. "Humans are dynamic. With our differences come different immune systems. This means the same virus can produce different signs and symptoms in different ways. A sign is something that’s seen, such as a rash. A symptom is something that’s felt, like a sore throat...So when we talk about the signs and symptoms of a virus, we’re referring to what is most common. To ascertain this, we have to collect information from individual cases," researcher Lara Herrero, research leader in virology and infectious diseases at Australia's Griffith University said.