What you need to know about the COVID-19 Delta variant

Friday, July 23, 2021

By: Dr. Supriya Mannepalli, NGMC’s Medical Director of Infectious Disease Medicine

So, you’ve seen the headline — the COVID-19 Delta variant is taking over your newsfeed and you’re wondering what it is and what it means for everyone. Here’s a list of the most important information you need to know about the COVID-19 Delta variant.

The Delta variant is here.

The Delta variant has already caused surges in other states, and it’s in Georgia now. According to the Georgia Department of Public Health, the rate of positive COVID-19 test results is on the rise – just as it was before each of our three previous surges. No one wants to return to the isolation and the worry we faced in the fall and winter last year.

The Delta variant spreads much faster than the other virus strands.

In the last couple of weeks, COVID-19 numbers have significantly increased, and the Delta variant is a massive contributor to the spread. The COVID-19 Delta variant has been identified as the “fastest and fittest” strand of the virus. Research shows that the Delta variant is spreading 50% faster than the original strand and it makes more copies of itself inside our bodies at a much faster rate than the first variants. It has quickly become the dominant variant in the United States.

Vaccinated people have a significantly reduced risk.

It is rare for someone who is vaccinated to get infected. Breakthrough infections, when they occur, are usually mild or asymptomatic.

Getting vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus reduces your risk of developing severe or critical symptoms or even dying from COVID-19. Most virus-related hospitalizations are happening in unvaccinated people. Unvaccinated people are making up 99.5% of the deaths associated with COVID-19. Remember, getting vaccinated works similarly to that of how a seatbelt protects passengers riding together in a car. It does not mean that you won’t get COVID-19. It means that your body will have increased ability to fight the virus.

The vaccine is the weapon we didn’t have in the fight before. If you’ve been waiting to make sure the vaccine is safe before you get the shot, rest assured that more than 4.6 million have taken it in Georgia alone. Unfortunately, more than half of our state still isn’t vaccinated, and that leaves us all vulnerable to another crippling spike. We need everyone eligible to protect themselves so our businesses can remain open, our children can return to school and our communities can recover.

Anyone 12+ years old can have access to the COVID-19 vaccine. To find a COVID-19 vaccination provider near you visit, nghs.com/covid-19/vaccine-updates.

Be vigilant to reduce the spread.

You can also reduce your risk of getting and spreading COVID-19 by:

  • Wearing a mask
  • Staying at a safe distance from others
  • Washing your hands
  • Sanitizing most frequently used surfaces 

Visit nghs.com/covid-vaccine for more information about our COVID-19 response.