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The delta variant is spreading ‘like wildfire.’ Does it make people sicker?

Do you get more sick from the delta variant?

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New evidence showing the delta variant is as contagious as chickenpox has prompted U.S. health officials to consider changing advice on how the nation fights the coronavirus.

A person holds a mask while walking outside in Philadelphia on May 21, 2021.

Matt Rourke, Associated Press

The delta variant coronavirus is spreading throughout the world and the United States — and health experts are speaking out about how dangerous it really is.

Delta variant continues to spread

Dr. Michelle Barron, senior medical director of infection prevention and control at Colorado’s UCHealth, recently told Reuters that the delta variant of the coronavirus is spreading wicked fast.

  • “This is like a wildfire, this is not a smoldering campfire. It is full-on flames right now,” she said.

Does the delta variant make you sicker?

Barron said the delta variant can spread super fast between people, meaning it is infecting more people. The variant also creates 1,000 times more virus particles in your body compared to the original mutation.

  • “It is hard to tell if they are more sick because of the delta variant or if they would have been more sick anyway,” she said.

However, some doctors told Reuters that they’ve seen infected people become sicker more quickly. And there have been situations where people suffer more severe symptoms.

  • “We are seeing more patients requiring oxygen sooner,” Dr. Benjamin Barlow, chief medical officer at American Family Care, told Reuters.

What if you’re fully vaccinated?

Per CNN, new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that more than 99.99% of people who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 have not had a breakthrough case that led to hospitalization or death.

  • Yeah. 99.99%.

The CDC said there were 6,587 breakthrough cases by July 26. Of those, 6,239 led to hospitalizations to 1,263 led to death, according to CNN. More than 163 million people have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Dr. Leana Wen, an emergency medical doctor and former health commissioner of Baltimore, told NPR that fully vaccinated people will have to mask up, though, to keep the delta variant from spreading to unvaccinated and to stay protected from COVID-19.

  • Wen said these breakthrough COVID-19 cases are happening “not because the vaccines aren’t effective, but rather because of the high levels of unvaccinated and infected people who are surrounding us.”