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What You Need to Know About the COVID-19 Delta Variant

CLEVELAND, August 10, 2021: Michelle Biehl, M.D., Medical Director of the Post-ICU Recovery Clinic at Cleveland Clinic, shares the latest developments about the Delta variant and how you can protect yourself.

Dr. Biehl earned her medical degree from Pontificia Universidad Católica in Porto Alegre, Brazil. She is board certified in internal medicine as well as pulmonary and critical medicine. Her special interests include ICU survivorship, patient-centered outcomes and humanizing the ICU. 

 

How concerned should people be about the Delta variant?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Delta variant is now responsible for 93% of new COVID-19 cases in the U.S.  

This data should make us concerned and cautious. The Delta variant appears to be more infectious, and easier to transmit than the previous variants that we’ve seen.

And after a period of declining COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations earlier in the summer, we are starting to see a rise in cases in Ohio and across the country. The vast majority of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths occur in unvaccinated individuals.

The contagious nature of this new variant reinforces what we’ve been saying all along – the best way to protect yourself from COVID-19 continues to be through vaccination. 

What do we know about breakthrough COVID-19 cases?

While the COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective, no vaccines are 100% effective. We have seen breakthrough infections and hospitalizations of individuals who are fully vaccinated in Ohio, and across the country. Out of 160 million Americans who were fully vaccinated by mid-July, there have been less than 7,000 of those cases.

It’s important to remember that most of the breakthrough cases we are seeing are mild. Those that have been hospitalized are generally patients who are older or who have compromised immune systems. 

Will masks protect against the Delta variant?

Right now, we are seeing substantial spread of COVID-19 in several Northeast Ohio counties including, Cuyahoga and Lorain counties.

The CDC is now recommending that in order to maximize protection from the Delta variant and prevent possibly spreading it to others, those who are fully vaccinated should wear a mask indoors in public if you are in an area of substantial or high transmission. Those who are not yet vaccinated should continue to mask as well. 

Masks are an important way to protect yourself and your family from COVID-19. But in order for a mask to be effective, it must be worn correctly.  It needs to fit snug around your face with no gaps, have multiple layers and it needs to cover both your mouth and nose.


As the new school year approaches, what advice do you have for parents?

We know that children have generally had milder cases of COVID-19, but we have seen some develop serious symptoms, and even struggle with long-term COVID-19 symptoms.  Getting vaccinated is the most important thing parents can do to protect their children from COVID-19.  

Currently, children age 12 and older can receive a Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, and individuals 18 and older can get the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. All three vaccines have been authorized for emergency use by the FDA and have been determined to be safe and effective.  

Although a COVID-19 vaccine is not approved for children under age 12 at this time, we still encourage parents to stay up to date on their child’s routine immunizations.  Missing these routine vaccinations can be harmful for children and leave them exposed to numerous other illnesses that carry more risks for them than COVID-19, including flu, measles and pertussis (whooping cough).  

Where can people go to get a COVID-19 vaccine?

Cleveland Clinic has COVID-19 vaccines available at almost all of its primary care locations. Additionally, the Langston Hughes Health & Education Center, 2390 E. 79th St. in the Fairfax neighborhood and Main Campus, 9500 Euclid Ave. in Midtown Cleveland,  still offers walk-in vaccinations at specified times, and vaccinations can also be scheduled at Fairview and Hillcrest Hospitals, and at the Cleveland Clinic Business Operations Center, 6801 Brecksville Road in Independence.

 

 

 

 
Copyright © 1989 to 2021 by [LaPrensa Publications Inc.]. All rights reserved.
Revised: 08/10/21 19:51:24 -0700.

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