Why delta variants are more contagious and prevalent in younger populations


There is still much to learn about the delta variants of the virus that causes COVID-19. Here are some of the things we know now. It includes why it is more contagious and how the symptoms differ.

Are young people susceptible to delta variants?

News & Observer reported Children are at lower risk of being hospitalized for COVID-19, but at increased risk of spreading the more contagious delta mutation. This is because the variant is likely to spread to unvaccinated people, and the vaccine is not approved in the United States for children aged 5-12 years.

“Currently, the people who are infected with COVID-19 are mostly young people,” said David Wohl, a professor of medicine at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine who specializes in infectious diseases.

Do Delta Variants have Different Symptoms?

According to Wohl, young people may show “different patterns of symptoms” than older people, and men may show different patterns than women.

“It may be a feature of who is infected, not what the virus is infected with,” Wohl said. “It’s difficult to unravel.”

According to Wohl, there are currently few studies on how the symptoms of delta infection differ from other variants. But he said the biggest difference in how people show symptoms is the amount of virus particles.

“The amount of virus a person has when he gets a delta is much higher in the nose and throat, which means more destruction and more immune response caused by the virus,” Wohl said. It was.

How does this happen?

The virus mutates over time, avoiding an immune response. Delta variants have evolved to avoid the initial antibody response in the body, resulting in fewer viral particles killed in the body, leaving more in the nose and throat.

“What’s probably happening in Delta is that you’ve learned how to avoid the initial antibody response. You’re trained to do that by choice. It happens that the virus that can do it It will be selected and infected, “Wolf said. “Therefore, the first immune response that protected us from the first mutation is now less effective against it.”

When people are unable to initiate a strong immune response, they can become very ill with delta mutants, and they can also be incredibly infectious.

How are delta variants transmitted?

Delta variant More contagious Than the Wuhan variant of the virus’s ancestors.It’s about Increased infectivity by 50% Than the alpha variant, which was already 50% more contagious than the original coronavirus.

According to Wohl, in addition to spreading to unvaccinated people, high levels of virus particles increase the rate of infection because more people are infected with the delta mutant. There are many particles in the nose and throat, and when you sneeze or cough, more viral particles are released into the air.

“With more copies of the virus on all coughs and exhalations, and for more days, it can lead to what we are experiencing now. It is this over-infection of the virus.” Wolf said.

Will vaccination and masking help protect against delta mutations?

According to Wohl, the immune system of vaccinated people works better and produces a “wider, faster response” to delta mutants.

“I think that’s why we see vaccinated people not actually getting sick from Delta,” Wohl said.

Medical experts warned A wave of potential cases at the beginning of the school year by infants who do not yet have the approved COVID-19 vaccine.

The vaccine “prevents people from really getting sick and dying,” Wohl said.Vaccinated individuals infected with the delta variant In many cases, you will not be extremely ill According to Wohl, only mild symptoms appear.

But Wohl said that even mild symptoms are not ideal. “Are there people who haven’t been around for 10 days or want to take the risk of long-term COVID-19 and infect others?”

Masking is also an effective barrier method that helps reduce the amount of virus in the air, Wohl said. The less virus particles you inhale, the less likely you are to get a serious illness.

“The lower the cloud of the virus, the thinner the virus, the less the virus, and the less likely it is to infect others. Masks can help you do that,” Wohl said.