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Delta variant of COVID-19 as transmissible as chickenpox, attacks nose and throat in vaccinated people. This is why CDC recommends masks again.

2021-07-31

Bad news about the delta variant has just been publicly released. The CDC has recently been made aware of this shocking change in the pandemic. Studies conducted too recently for peer review show that vaccinated people can be infected with the delta variant; a small proportion of fully vaccinated people have been productively infected and can transmit the coronavirus to others, at least for a few days. Fortunately, the infections are usually mild and confined to the nose and throat.

The coronavirus delta variant has evolved to be more contagious and more severe than the original virus, or indeed any other variant so far. Lack of stringent controls on people travelling from India has resulted in seeding of the delta variant in the US. Its superior infectiousness has resulted in its rapid domination of new infections all over the US (and indeed, all over the world)– this has happened just in the last two months. Over eighty percent of new cases in the US are now delta type.

Early studies indicate that unvaccinated people are more readily infected and develop more severe disease than with the original coronavirus (COVID-19.) Estimates suggest that some unvaccinated people produce a thousand times as many infectious virus particles in their breath with the delta variant than with the original virus. Infected people may spread the virus to nine others on average (this is the R number), resulting in very widespread dissemination.

This is why the CDC has changed its recommendations for mask-wearing. They now advise even vaccinated people to wear masks in places where infected people might be present– basically all pubic indoor areas. This includes in the presence of unvaccinated children, who frequently have asymptomatic infections and can be contagious without realizing it.

The rate of new infections in the US has skyrocketed, from a low averaging ten thousand a day a month ago to a reported 122,000 new cases yesterday (see the New York Times if you don’t believe me. If you don’t believe them, don’t read this blog.)

Symptoms of sore throat, runny nose, and especially loss of smell are typical for vaccinated infectees. The presence of antibodies in the blood usually prevents the delta variant from spreading to the lungs and systemically. This is a drawback of vaccinating by injection: antibodies are produced in the blood (IgG and IgM) but not on the mucosal surfaces (IgA.) Thus, the coronavirus may gain a foothold in the nose and throat; delta is particularly effective at this. Studies suggest that vaccinations administered intranasally may be more effective at preventing upper respiratory infections.

The evolving knowledge about the coronavirus delta variant tells us that it will be necessary to develop a specific mRNA vaccine that can be administered through the nose in order to most effectively stop the virus from spreading and relieve us of the necessity of wearing masks.

coronavirus photo by Tumisu via pixabay

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