Delta COVID variant: Doctor explains the strain, its risks and vaccine effectiveness

Coronavirus

As New York takes a major step forward in getting back to normal, the CDC is sounding the alarm about the COVID-19 delta variant.

The latest strain is being labeled a “variant of concern” because of how quickly it can spread and its resistance to current treatments.

Dr. Shereef Elnahal, the CEO of University Hospital in Newark, gave the PIX11 Morning News a better understanding of the delta variant and what it could mean for us moving forward.

Elnahal said that while the variant has been around since it was discovered in India in December, it is just now starting to take over all the other variants.

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The doctor said the delta strain makes up 98% of all new COVID cases in the United Kingdom, and just about 6% of cases in the U.S. currently.

While it is expanding here, Elnahal said the main difference is the U.S. has a higher vaccination rate than the U.K.

Elnahal said the delta variant is up to 50% more transmissible than the UK variant, which is currently the majority of new cases in the States.

“We don’t know yet how severe it is, but it’s certainly not less severe from what we’re seeing,” the doctor said.

Luckily, it seems both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are able to stand up to the delta strain, so getting vaccinated is the best way to protect yourself from the variant, Elnahal said.

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