by Clarence Tabinas || Photo Credit: Reuters
The pandemic has been ravaging the world for almost two years now, with people anxiously hoping for an end to the crisis. But instead of stopping, more and more variants continue to emerge through the mutation of SARS-CoV-2. Among these variants, however, one has become a cause for concern because of its increased transmissibility.
Lineage B.1.617.2, more commonly known as the Delta Variant, first emerged in India last October 2020. It is twice as infectious as other strains of the virus, primarily because those infected with this variant can carry up to 1000 times more viruses than those infected with the original strain. As a result, one person can infect about 9-13 people in a short time.
Symptoms of Delta include headache, sore throat, and runny nose— slightly different from those associated with the original strain. Although it is more infectious than other variants, there is still no proof of Delta causing more severe symptoms. Data-gathering resumes throughout the world in order for scientists to become more familiar with this strain and for preventive measures to be set in place.
The Delta Variant had been one of the reasons for the second wave of infection in India. Regarded as the most populous democratic country in the world, India had descended into chaos as large numbers of cases arose. Firewood became a resource of great importance as it was used for the cremation of thousands of dead bodies.
The variant continued its spread to over 98 countries in a matter of months. On August 31, 2021, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced that the Delta variant had become the dominant strain in the Philippines, and as of September 21, 2021, the variant has spread to 185 countries worldwide.
Vaccination remains the best method of prevention. According to research, unvaccinated people are still five times more likely to be infected than those vaccinated and 25 times more likely to be hospitalized. Furthermore, vaccinated individuals are at risk of spreading the virus at a shorter time than those who are not. However, though many have already received their vaccines, wearing masks and observing physical distancing are still needed as breakthrough cases increase.