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What's Your Risk of Catching Delta COVID-19?

Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, it has been very confusing to know who to listen to and what “facts” to believe. The novelty and tumultuousness of the SARS-CoV-2 virus only worsen the matter.


This blog will aim to debunk the myth that people who are vaccinated are at equal risk to the dangers of the new Delta COVID-19 variant.

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Updated Delta News:


New research has demonstrated that while yes, unvaccinated people carry the same Delta COVID-19 viral load as unvaccinated people, their risk of actually contracting the disease is much, much smaller than expected. For the average vaccinated American, the chances of contracting COVID-19 is only one in 5,000 per day. This statistic is much lower for people who live in places with a very high vaccination rate. In places like the Northeast, Chicago, Los Angelos, and San Francisco areas, the risk of a vaccinated person contracting COVID-19 is only one in 10,000. To put that statistic into perspective, for people in these areas, it would take over three months for the combined risk to reach just 1%.


Keep in mind, however, this new study only studied data from states with extremely detailed data on infections by vaccination status. These states included Utah, Virginia, and Washington State. All three of these states have significantly high vaccination rates, much higher than the national average of 53.7%. It can be expected for states like West Virginia or Mississippi, with an average vaccination rate of 48%, the odds of a vaccinated person contracting Delta COVID-19 is much higher- simply due to the higher exposure rate they face.


Another way to view the situation is to compare each state’s daily COVID-19 infection rate with its vaccination rate. The states with the least vaccinated have an infection rate 4 times higher than states with high vaccination rates.

Graph Credit: New York Times


The current Delta wave would only be a fraction of the size if all states received vaccinations at the same rate as the Northeast or California.


Statistics like the one above demonstrate why the sensationalist jargon around viral loads is problematic. Yes, vaccinated people do have the same viral as the unvaccinated, but the virus behaves completely differently in a vaccinated person. While the viral loads are similar in size at the initial infection, a vaccinated person’s immune system will launch a powerful response and will prevail quickly. This will often occur before any sign of illness or ability to spread the virus to others begins. For an unvaccinated person, the large viral load meets little resistance and will quickly result in symptoms and the ability to spread the virus.


Why you should still be wearing a mask:


Despite this seemingly good news for the vaccinated, we should all continue to wear masks and practice protective measures to prevent the further spread of COVID-19. There is still much to learn about the Delta variant, and stopping the spread is still of number one importance.


While the chances of a vaccinated person spreading Delta are low, it is not impossible. Delta COVID-19 is more transmissible than influenza, the common cold, and the viruses that cause smallpox, MERS, SARS, Ebola, and is as contagious as chickenpox. And while the hospitalization and death rates for unvaccinated adults have not skyrocketed, the same cannot be said for unvaccinated children.


Contrary to popular belief, children and adults are equally susceptible to catching and spreading COVID-19. The lack of equal representation in facts and figures is likely due to the often asymptomatic cases of children with COVID-19. But children can catch COVID-19 and spread it just the same.


In the last several weeks, pediatric doctors throughout the country have reported rising cases of hospitalized children with Delta COVID-19. The average number of children hospitalized from COVID-19 has been climbing steadily since early July. From July 31 to August 6, 216 children were hospitalized every day for coronavirus. These numbers rival the 217 daily admissions during the pandemic’s peak in January. Between July 22 to July 29, 72,000 new pediatric COVID-19 cases were reported, this is double the week prior. While most children had relatively mild symptoms, a small share of children do develop severe diseases.


What’s even more concerning is the rising number of children in intensive care units from symptoms of COVID-19. Gone are the days where children were completely unscathed by COVID-19. And for that, Delta COVID-19 could be to blame.


Emerging evidence from adults with Delta hints that the new variant may cause more severe symptoms. But research has yet to demonstrate if Delta is actually more dangerous to children. However, the testimonies of doctors seem to suggest it to be true. Reports from pediatric doctors throughout the country report that more children are being sent to the hospital after contracting Delta COVID-19. This is likely due to Delta’s increased transmissibility and the lack of widespread child vaccinations.


Children’s hospitals usually accommodate higher numbers of patients through the colder fall and winter months. This is due to influenza, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and other viral respiratory pathogens that spread in the winter months. The added surge of Delta COVID-19 could cause major concerns regarding hospital capacities. Further, pediatric doctors are already seeing patients with RSV and COVID-19 that are “not doing well.” There is no perception of what a duel case of influenza and COVID-19 would look like for a child, but many doctors say expectations are not good.


To read more about how to keep your child safe against COVID-19 throughout the school year, click here.


The best thing you can do to keep yourself and your family safe throughout the ongoing pandemic is to get vaccinated and receive the booster shot when eligible. The next steps include keeping your body as healthy as possible in order to fight off severe infections. Providing your body with the proper nutrients, exercise, and supplementation is essential in successfully fighting off COVID-19.


The Johnson Center recommends a multi-faceted plan to obtain optimal health- encompassing biological and genomic testing, nutritional supplementation, and dietary and wellness plans. To learn more, click here.


If you have any more questions about your path to optimal health, email our office at thejohnsoncenter@gmail.com or call 276-235-3205.


The Johnson Center for Health services patients in-person in our Blacksburg and Virginia Beach / Norfolk locations. We also offer telemedicine for residents of Virginia and North Carolina!

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