Over the weekend the Ottawa County Health Department verified that the highly contagious Covid-19 variant, B.1.617.2, otherwise known as the Delta variant was confirmed in a vaccinated adult in Ottawa County.

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The adult, an adult in their fifties, was confirmed to have the disease variant after recent travel within the United States. A close contact of the individual was also confirmed positive with Coronarvirus and is presumed to have the Delta Variant as well.

Marcia Mansaray, deputy health officer with Ottawa County Department of Public Health says currently we are in a race between the variant & vaccination rates:

This variant has caused a serious and deadly surge in India, where it was first identified. The SARS-CoV-2 virus behaves in unexpected ways so it is hard to predict what the impact of this variant will be here, but each opportunity for spread is another opportunity for the virus to mutate. We are still in a race between variants and vaccines. Unvaccinated people will be the most vulnerable.

So with the more virulent strain now in our backyard, what do you need to know?

  1. The Delta variant, which is believed to have developed during a recent surge in India, is considered a 'variant of concern. by the CDC. The CDC defines these variants as follows:"A variant for which there is evidence of an increase in transmissibility, more severe disease (e.g., increased hospitalizations or deaths), a significant reduction in neutralization by antibodies generated during previous infection or vaccination, reduced effectiveness of treatments or vaccines, or diagnostic detection failures."
  2. Even though the CDC has yet to issue similar guidance, the World Health Organization is currently urging fully vaccinated adults to wear masks and continue Covid-19 precautions due to the surge.As of June 19, more than 20 percent of new Covid-19 cases were caused by the variant, up from around 10 percent two weeks prior. Data suggests that this variant is 40% to 60% more transmissible than the Alpha variant
  3. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases says that this variant is the "greatest threat" in efforts to eliminate COVID-19 in the United States.

Although the variant has been responsible for breakthrough cases in some of those vaccinated (as seen in Ottawa County), the vaccines have shown to increase protection against serious disease and hospitalization in the variant. So health officials are urging those who are not fully vaccinated to begin or complete their vaccination cycle to fight the spread.

LOOK: Answers to 30 common COVID-19 vaccine questions

While much is still unknown about the coronavirus and the future, what is known is that the currently available vaccines have gone through all three trial phases and are safe and effective. It will be necessary for as many Americans as possible to be vaccinated in order to finally return to some level of pre-pandemic normalcy, and hopefully these 30 answers provided here will help readers get vaccinated as soon they are able.