What is the Delta Variant?


Oliver Klipsch, Editor-in-Chief



What is the Delta Variant?


Recently there has been a lot of talk about the “Delta Variant” of COVID-19. But what exactly is it? 


Faster Spreading

The Delta variant is essentially a type of Covid-19 that is more contagious than others. Being more contagious means that it is easier to catch it and spread it to others. So, it spreads faster. But just how contagious is it? According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), Delta is more than twice as contagious as other variants. By the end of July 2021 the Delta variant was responsible for over 80% of new US Covid-19 cases – now, it is responsible for 95% of US cases. This variant has quickly become the dominant strain of the virus in the US, and has led to a rise in death rate in 43 states. 


Vaccination is the best protection

In May and July, US hospitalization numbers showed that unvaccinated people were over 29 times more likely to be hospitalized than vaccinated people, and 5 times more likely to get sick with the virus. If you want to avoid this extra risk, vaccination is a solution that you should strongly consider.


Vaccinated people are still at risk (although still safer than unvaccinated)

According to CDC data from a study published last Tuesday, the power of the vaccine to protect against COVID-19 among healthcare workers has decreased since the Delta variant rose to power. Before Delta, the vaccine effectiveness rate was 91% effective; according to last Tuesday’s data, it decreased to 66% among the healthcare workers. 


What about in Iowa?

Iowa’s COVID-19 numbers have been on the rise. In the past 14 days we have seen a 46% increase in daily cases, and a 30% increase in daily hospitalizations. Despite this dramatic increase, in terms of actual people, each day only 38 out of 100,000 people on average have reported cases, although this doesn’t include the many cases that don’t get reported. Also, the average daily hospitalization rate is 20 per 100,000 people, according to New York Times data.


To look at this data accurately, we should also consider that the population of Davenport is roughly 100,000 people, while Iowa’s population as a whole is roughly 3.21 million. So, these case and hospitalization numbers get multiplied according to a place’s population. 


The Bottom Line

The Delta variant is an especially contagious variant of COVID-19 that affects both vaccinated and unvaccinated people, although it affects unvaccinated people way more. To avoid it, the CDC is advising that both vaccinated and unvaccinated people wear masks. In part due to this variant, COVID-19 numbers are on the rise in Iowa, though in terms of reported percentages relatively few people are greatly affected.