The Texas Department of State Health Services answered some of the more frequently asked questions about the delta variant of COVID-19, the strain believed to be the most dominant in the United States at this time.
People testing positive for COVID-19 may wonder if they have contracted the delta variant or some other strain. The DSHS said the viral tests used to determine if a person is infected are not able to tell which strain is present. Detecting the variant requires genomic sequencing and that is not performed on most samples. The DSHS said because the delta variant is believed to be the dominant strain there is a strong likelihood a positive test indicates infection with the delta variant.
Because the delta variant is still SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, the symptoms and the early warning signs are the same. The DSHS said the delta variant "spreads more easily than other known variants, which means it’s more contagious than other variants. Also, Delta may put infected people at higher risk of hospitalization than other variants."
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The people most at risk for contracting the delta variant are the same people most at risk for contracting any strain of COVID-19, those who remain unvaccinated. That includes children up to the age of 11 who are not yet eligible to receive the vaccine.
To prevent being infected by the delta variant, or any variant of COVID-19, disease experts advise getting vaccinated, wearing masks, and washing your hands. These three simple mitigation techniques can help bring an end to the pandemic.
Experts also advise those who have been infected with COVID-19 previously to still go ahead and get vaccinated against the virus. The reason for this is because experts do not yet know how long having been infected with COVID-19 affords immunity and that those people who have been vaccinated after recovery from COVID-19 have been shown to have a boost in protection.
Those who are vaccinated are still able to be infected with the virus, though that infection is expected to be far less severe than what it may have been otherwise.
To read more on the delta variant from the Texas DSHS, click here.