Nassau County Emergency Management
August 11, 2021
“So how can you protect yourself? Get the vaccine. It is the only way,” Dr. Rathore urged. “Still use masks and practice social distancing, but the vaccine is really the way to protect yourself.”
Mobeen Rathore, MD, chief of pediatric infectious disease and immunology at Wolfson Children’s Hospital, shed some light on the latest pandemic threat.
Here are 5 things you need to know:
1. The delta variant is no longer just overseas. The deadly strain swept through India in April and May 2021 and now, it’s here in the United States. “The prevalence of this variant is increasing and it is now the dominant strain in the nation,” Dr. Rathore said.
2. Delta is more contagious and can cause serious illness. “It is more dangerous than the other coronavirus strains we have seen and will get worse if not enough people are protected through vaccinations,” Dr. Rathore warned. “We will have other variants that could be more serious and dangerous.”
The initial symptoms of the delta variant tend to be similar to flu or a common cold (headache, runny nose, sore throat, fever), but cough and loss of taste and/or smell are less commonly reported than in earlier strains.
3. Younger people are getting hit hard. Those who have not been vaccinated are most at risk for the new variant. People under 50, including children who are not old enough to get vaccinated, are more likely to get infected. Like health systems across the country are seeing an uptick of CoViD-19 patients in the 30- to 40-year-old age range who are unvaccinated. The highest risk of severe complications and death is among the unvaccinated.
4. Vaccines offer the best protection. Getting vaccinated helps stop the spread of the virus. Though vaccinated people may still get infected with the delta variant, they are less likely to require hospitalization and will probably not get as ill as those who haven’t gotten the shot.
“More than 99% of fatalities have occurred in those not immunized,” Dr. Rathore stressed.
5. Stopping the spread is not the only reason to get the vaccine. It’s not just about trying to avoid getting sick. Unvaccinated individuals are susceptible to the virus, and once a person is infected, the virus has a host in which it can replicate. That’s what causes mutation.
“It’s important to get vaccinated to keep the virus from becoming more virulent, causing more serious disease,” said Dr. Rathore. “All viruses mutate all the time, and to do that they have to multiply and replicate. That means they need somebody who is susceptible to infection as a host. It will get worse if we don’t vaccinate.”
So how can you protect yourself?
“Get the vaccine. It is the only way,” Dr. Rathore urged. “Still use masks and practice social distancing, but the vaccine is really the way to protect yourself.”