Delta variant brings new concerns in fight against Covid

SIX NATIONS — The Delta variant of Covid-19 is making news as the dominant strain of the virus circulating around the world right now. Eight per cent of current world infections are from the Delta variant.

While it’s not known how many cases of the particular Delta variant have been detected on Six Nations, there have been 60 total variants of concern (VOCs) detected among the 529 positive Covid-19 cases on the territory since record keeping began in March 2020.

The Delta variant was first detected in India and has become the dominant strain in Ontario this summer, according to Six Nations Public Health. It is 50 per cent more transmissible than the Alpha variant and results in a two-fold higher risk of hospitalization than the Alpha variant, according to SN Public Health. There are currently four Covid variants of concern (VOCs) that world public health officials are tracking: Alpha, Beta, Delta and Gamma.

According to the United States Centers for Disease Control (CDC), numerous Covid variants and mutations have been circulating around the world since the virus first became a public health concern in late 2019.

The CDC monitors variants for characteristics such as increased infectiousness and increased risk of hospitalization, among others.

The Delta variant is more transmissible and results in more severe illness than earlier versions of the Covid virus, according to a report from the CDC released last Friday.

What that means for Six Nations is unknown. Six Nations of the Grand River did not return requests for comment by press time.

The CDC said the Delta variant is more contagious than the common flu or cold and that it doubles the risk of hospitalization. It also creates higher amounts of virus particles in the body than the previous, dominant Alpha strain.

Six Nations currently has zero active Covid cases and has recorded zero new infections in the past week. Ten people are in self-isolation and there have been 11 deaths in the community since the pandemic began

Six Nations Public Health is encouraging increased vaccination rates in the community to prevent another wave of infections in the community. To date, 40 per cent of the on-reserve population has received the first dose of a Covid vaccine, and 35 per cent of the population is fully vaccinated with a second dose.

A World Health Organization chief scientist says the current batch of approved Covid vaccines are effective in reducing severe illness and hospitalization risks from the Delta variant.

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