Covid-19: Delta Variant and America's Future

By Tanish Arora
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MD Anderson Cancer Center

The Covid-19 pandemic has impacted the United States and its citizens heavily in the past year. 33.7 million people have been affected all around the U.S and over 650,000 deaths have been recorded. Over 200,000 small businesses closed during the first year of the pandemic and 600,000 total over the course of the crisis. However, with recent vaccines made by major biotech companies {Pfizer, Moderna, J&J}, life could return back to normal soon. Stores are opening up, restrictions on indoor dining are being lifted, and masks are optional in most places for fully vaccinated people.

 

Despite the pleasant news, a new variant of Covid-19 has emerged known as the Delta Variant and it may completely impact and alter life in the upcoming months. The Delta variant, is the most contagious version of the Coronavirus and is 50% more contagious than other variants of the virus. The delta variant first originated in India around October of 2020, but soon spread to Britain and 85 other countries. The first case of the Delta Variant within the U.S was detected in March and the cases are massively multiplying. In early April, just 0.1% of the cases of Coronavirus were the delta variant. Around the end of May, this rose to 1.3% and later 9% in June. Experts estimate that the percentage can go all the way up to 25% in the coming months. 

 

With the Delta Variant, headaches, runny nose, and sore throat are the most common symptoms. The most important question however, is how it may affect us in the future. In countries with a major presence of the Delta Variant, lockdowns have been implemented and the conditions look eerily similar to when the first variant started to spread. Face masks are required and homeowners are only allowed to leave their residence for essential needs. If the Delta Variant continues to infect many people within the United States, the public could see similar rules be implemented. Small businesses would be shut down causing them to lose sales (average $110,000) for an additional year. Employees would be released and over 2.5 million jobs would be lost as part of the total Covid job loss. 

 

The Delta Variant is more active among unvaccinated people and children. Since these groups do not have any immunity to the virus, the Delta Variant can thrive among them. However, there is hope to be found. The new vaccines show immunity to the Delta Variant and the impact is on a lower scale. If the U.S can reach its goal of vaccinating more than 70% of adults, and maintain mask mandates, another epidemic can be avoided. Even in these hard circumstances, there are still ways that the Delta Variant can be prevented, allowing life to return to normal.