The World Health Organization (WHO) uses Greek letters to name the most important variants of COVID-19. This system makes things easier to understand and helps prevent false alarms. It also helps remove the stigmatizing and discriminating labels that people use when referencing variants based on their origin.
Major Variants You Should Know About
Delta COVID-19 Variant
This variant is currently the most common COVID-19 variant in the United States. It is almost twice as contagious as the previous variants and can cause more serious illness. The greatest risk of infection is among unvaccinated people. However, a person who is completely vaccinated can still be exposed to breakthrough infections with symptoms and transmit the disease to others. This variant can also reduce the efficacy of some antibodies produced by the COVID-19 vaccine.
According to experts, certain strains of the Delta mutant (a variant of the more contagious mutant) are responsible for the recent increase in cases in the United Kingdom.
This strain, also known as B.1.617.2, is currently the predominant strain in the United Kingdom and the WHO calls it a “variant of concern.” Experts believe that it is up to 60% more contagious than the original strain of COVID-19.
Investigations are underway, but early data suggests that this particular COVID-19 variant may be one of the factors behind the significant increase in cases of COVID-19 and the subsequent deaths in India in the spring.
Microbiologist and pathologist Daniel Rhoads, MD, of Cleveland Clinic says, “As of August 2021, the Delta variant has become the predominant lineage of SARS-CoV-2 circulating across the U.S. It has caused substantial morbidity. For example, COVID-related hospitalizations in Florida have surpassed previous records due to the delta wave.”