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COVID-19 Delta Variant: What we know

Health experts have continued to watch certain coronavirus mutations and variants that have become more contagious and deadlier than the original strain. Photo UN

The Delta variant causes more infections and spreads faster than early forms of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, according to the US centre for disease control, CDC on its website.

World Health Organisation (WHO) Director-General, Tedros Ghebreyesus, urged leaders to push back against the daunting new COVID-19 surges, with increased vaccination efforts and public health measures, warning that the Delta variant was quickly becoming the dominant strain in many countries, adding that, “We are in a very dangerous period of the pandemic’’.

He explained that the variant was ‘dangerous’ and continued to evolve and mutate.

Nigeria recorded more than 35 Delta variant cases in September, in states including Akwa Ibom, Lagos, Cross River, Plateau and Oyo as well as the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

The WHO’s technical leader for COVID-19 response, Maria Van Kerkhove said there were now ‘sub lineages’ of the Delta variant that experts are tracking and countries would do well to expand their genomic sequencing efforts.

Among such strains, the B.1.617.2. (Delta), the variant has become a major source of worry due to its rapid increase in several countries.

  • The Delta variant is more contagious: The Delta variant is highly contagious, more than 2x as contagious as previous variants.
  • Some data suggest the Delta variant might cause more severe illness than previous variants in unvaccinated people. In two different studies from Canada and Scotland, patients infected with the Delta variant were more likely to be hospitalized than patients infected with Alpha or the original virus that causes COVID-19. Even so, the vast majority of hospitalization and death caused by COVID-19 are in unvaccinated people.
  • Unvaccinated people remain the greatest concern: The greatest risk of transmission is among unvaccinated people who are much more likely to get infected, and therefore transmit the virus. Fully vaccinated people get COVID-19 (known as breakthrough infections) less often than unvaccinated people. People infected with the Delta variant, including fully vaccinated people with symptomatic breakthrough infections, can transmit the virus to others.
  • Fully vaccinated people with Delta variant breakthrough infections can spread the virus to others. However, vaccinated people appear to spread the virus for a shorter time: For prior variants, lower amounts of viral genetic material were found in samples taken from fully vaccinated people who had breakthrough infections than from unvaccinated people with COVID-19. For people infected with the Delta variant, similar amounts of viral genetic material have been found among both unvaccinated and fully vaccinated people. However, like prior variants, the amount of viral genetic material may go down faster in fully vaccinated people when compared to unvaccinated people. This means fully vaccinated people will likely spread the virus for less time than unvaccinated people.

Nigeria in the last 24 hours

A total of 61 new confirmed cases of COVID 19 were reported in Nigeria on November 18, 2021.

This figure indicates an increase of infection to 213, 464.

The number of discharges also decreased to 206292; fatalities increased to 2973 across 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory.

Confirmed cases by the states:

States AffectedNo. of Cases (Lab Confirmed)No. of Cases (on admission)No. DischargedNo. of Deaths
Akwa Ibom4,3482284,07644
Cross River662463325

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Most people who fall sick with COVID-19 will experience mild to moderate symptoms and recover without special treatment. However, some will become seriously ill and require medical attention.

The virus can spread from an infected person’s mouth or nose in small liquid particles when they cough, sneeze, speak, sing or breathe. These particles range from larger respiratory droplets to smaller aerosols.

You can be infected by breathing in the virus if you are near someone who has COVID-19, or by touching a contaminated surface and then your eyes, nose or mouth. The virus spreads more easily indoors and in crowded settings.

On 30 January 2020, the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak to be a global public health emergency of international concern under the International Health Regulations (2005).

Since that time, the pandemic has continued to highlight a pressing need to use social and behavioural data alongside biomedical data to mount an effective response.

Written by Saadatu Albashir