The fast-spreading Delta variant is the dominant strain of a virus many had hoped would be eradicated by now. COVID-19’s Delta variant was first identified in India in December of 2020. Now Delta accounts for 97 percent of new infections in the United States, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
The growing impact of Delta on the US is reminiscent of March 2020 when hospitals were overwhelmed with patients and many businesses closed their doors. Moreover, Delta is twice as contagious as past variants making it the fastest and fittest variant to date according to the CDC.
Mutations to the SARS-CoV-2 genome have increased Delta’s transmissibility and quickened the pace of its replication in the body. Studies show that Delta tends to result in more severe outcomes for those who are unvaccinated, while hospitalizations remain low for fully vaccinated individuals.