These numbers are causing concern because they resemble the numbers seen before the COVID-19 vaccines were available. Do they mean the vaccines do not work? The answer is no. However, before looking at vaccine efficacy in more detail, here is a recap of what makes the Delta variant of COVID-19 so different.
The Delta variant of COVID-19 was first found in India in October 2020. By April 2021, cases were identified in the United States. As viruses are transmitted from one person to another, there is a chance that they mutate. Mutations can make the virus weaker or stronger.
The World Health Organization (WHO) classified Delta as a ‘variant of concern’ (VOC) because it is more infectious than previous strains of the virus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have found that this strain of the virus is nearly twice as contagious as previous variants have been. This means that one infected person can spread the disease further. Every time the disease spreads, there is another opportunity for a new mutation to occur and a new variant to be created.
In the case of the Delta variant, the mutation made the virus stronger. By now, Delta has become the prevalent strain of the virus causing over 96% of new infections across the country. The United States is not the only nation to struggle with this strain. Separate studies from Scotland and Canada suggest that patients infected with the Delta variant are more likely to be hospitalized.
With the Delta variant of COVID-19 spreading fast, should there be another lockdown? No. Medical experts and politicians agree that America is in a stronger position than even a few months ago. This is largely due to the availability of highly efficient vaccines.
At this point, more than 50% of the U.S. population has been fully vaccinated. Whilst this is a large number, it also means that many Americans have not taken up their opportunity to become vaccinated. Unvaccinated people remain the greatest concern for doctors and scientists.
Plenty of media reports have highlighted so-called breakthrough cases. Breakthrough cases refer to a fully vaccinated person becoming infected with Covid-19. Some of those reports have implied that the vaccines do not work.
Vaccine breakthrough is normal for every vaccine, and it is something scientists expect. Some of the data available suggests that the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, which were over 90% effective against serious disease, hospitalization, and death, are around 70% effective against the Delta variant.
This means there are more breakthrough cases for this strain when compared to previous strains. However, the CDC has also found evidence to suggest that vaccination may make the illness less severe for those who are fully vaccinated but still get sick.
In fact, the number of patients with hospitalized or fatal vaccine breakthrough cases of COVID-19 is minimal. The majority of serious infections and deaths due to Covid-19 in the United States now occur among the unvaccinated population.
Mask wearing and social distancing are once again recommended. Wearing a mask in public, especially in crowded places, can limit your risk of transmitting Covid-19 to others. Even those who are fully vaccinated may have an asymptomatic breakthrough infection, which means they could pass the virus on to others.
Consider that not every citizen is eligible for the vaccine. Children under the age of 12 cannot yet be vaccinated but are starting to become more affected by the illness. One in five new infections is now happening to children. Adults who are immunocompromised may also be excluded from vaccination. Wearing masks and keeping a distance helps to protect those people.
Screening your workforce for symptoms and regular testing is convenient and affordable with services like Onsite Coronavirus Control Services for Businesses platform from TrueCare™.
Solutions include onsite antigen, antibody, and PCR testing. Screening for COVID-19 symptoms can be done via an app offsite.
Increasing vaccination rates will make the biggest difference in the country’s fight against the pandemic. Vaccines are now widely available, and companies can set up onsite vaccination services for their teams. Taking health equity to the next level will help avoid serious illness and possibly death.
Moreover, it will help your business avoid unplanned sick days and not only protect your workforce but also their families and loved ones.
TrueCare™ is a nationwide Health & Wellness platform for families and businesses providing end-to-end solutions for COVID-19 testing, screening, vaccination, home care, and corporate well-being services.