Some health experts classify spread of Delta variant as new pandemic |

Some health experts classify spread of Delta variant as new pandemic

Rachel Mills
Updated: July 29, 2021 06:25 PM
Created: July 29, 2021 04:21 PM

(ABC 6 News) - From the nation's capital to your city, experts are debating who should still be wearing a mask. It comes down to who can catch and spread the new Delta variant.

"What we've seen with Delta is that it's a completely different virus. It's presenting itself differently than what we saw with the original type," MDH infectious disease expert Kris Ehresmann said.  

Many health experts are classifying Delta as a new virus altogether, saying it's mutated beyond what we understood about the original Coronavirus. 

We now know people who have been vaccinated can be infected with the Delta variant.

"There's a confluence of evidence from other countries, the data we do have, observational studies, that this Delta variant has some very different characteristics, even as it affects vaccinated people," MDH Commissioner Jan Malcolm said.  

Even though vaccinated people can catch and spread the Delta variant, that doesn't mean they're likely to get seriously ill themselves.

"The Johnson and Johnson vaccine, the Pfizer vaccine, the Moderna vaccine are all extraordinarily effective against death, hospitalization, and severe disease due to the Delta variant. That doesn't mean it's 100 percent protection against lesser degrees of infection," Dr. Gregory Poland, Mayo Clinic's director of vaccine research, said. 

Health officials at Mayo Clinic said this is why it's still important for as many people to be vaccinated as possible. 

"Those mRNA vaccines are still highly effective. Over 80 percent for infection and over 90 percent for severe disease. So that's why it's still important for everyone to take those vaccines," Dr. Melanie Swift, Mayo Clinic's leader of Covid-19 vaccine allocation and distribution, said.  

The CDC has recommended everyone put their masks back on because someone could be spreading the more contagious variant to an unvaccinated person without knowing it. 

"We have new information based on how this Delta variant is acting that requires some changes in our guidance, and that's exactly how public health is supposed to work. We're supposed to continue to look at the data and the science and adapt our guidance accordingly. That's what CDC has done," Ehresmann said. 

According to the CDC, right now, the Delta variant makes up 82 percent of positive Covid cases in the United States, and less than half of all adults in the U.S. are fully vaccinated. 

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