The focus of this article is on the impact of the Covid Delta variant on the world.
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is an illness caused by a novel coronavirus called severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Formerly called 2019-nCoV, it was first identified amid an outbreak of respiratory illness cases in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China.
Initially, it was reported to the World Health Organization (WHO) on December 31, 2019. By January 30, 2020, it was declared a global health emergency. On March 11, 2020, the WHO officially declared COVID-19 a global pandemic.
1. What is the COVID Delta variant?
Genetic variants of SARS-CoV-2 have been emerging and circulating around the world throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. However, some are worse than others. First Identified in India, the COVID Delta is a variant strain of COVID-19. In fact, it has been classified as a variant of concern by the CDC. Variants of concern are variants for which there is evidence of an increase in transmissibility and more severe disease.
Also, there is a significant reduction in neutralization by antibodies generated during previous infection or vaccination. Reduced effectiveness of treatments or vaccines, or diagnostic detection failures are also attributes of variants. With the above definitions, it is pretty obvious that the COVID Delta variant is no joke and a major threat to the world.
2. Understanding the COVID Delta variant threat
For the first time in over a year, there is hope that the COVID-19 pandemic could recede to the background. Experts however say there is a cause for alarm because new mutations of the virus could bring back a pandemic. The scary part is that it might be stronger. The major concern now is Delta, a highly contagious SARS-CoV-2 virus strain, which was first identified in India in December. It then swept rapidly through that country and Great Britain as well.
2.1 First Covid Delta variant case in the United States
The first Covid Delta variant case in the United States was diagnosed in March and it is now the dominant strain there. According to F. Perry Wilson, MD, a Yale Medicine epidemiologist, the COVID Delta variant spreads quickly and it will certainly accelerate the pandemic. As a result of this, it has been concluded that unvaccinated people are at risk. It is not just the risk of contracting the virus but being unable to treat it.
2.2 Who is at risk of Covid Delta variant?
With COVID-19, older unvaccinated adults are more likely to be hospitalized or die. The risk increases for people in their 50s and increases in the 60s, 70s, and 80s. People 85 and older are the most likely to get very sick. However, with the Covid Delta strain, it is almost the opposite case. According to Dr. Yildirim, “But Delta seems to be impacting younger age groups more than previous variants”.
Another source from Scotland proves this point. The Covid Delta variant of concern in Scotland was found mainly in younger, more affluent groups.
2.3 How bad is the Covid Delta variant in comparison to the original virus?
One important question is whether the Delta strain will affect people badly more than the original virus did health-wise. Well, early information about the severity of Delta included a study from Scotland. It showed the Delta variant was twice as likely as the Alpha variant to result in hospitalization in unvaccinated individuals.
Both the Oxford–AstraZeneca, and Pfizer–BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines were effective. This was in reducing the risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection and COVID-19 hospitalisation in people with the Delta VOC. However, these effects on infection appeared to be diminished. Although a lot has been known about COVID-19, there is still more to know about its Delta variant.
3. Covid Delta variant and its impact on the world
As with every disease outbreak, there is an impact on the places it has affected. The impact of COVID Delta variant on the world cannot be overlooked easily.
4. The impact of COVID Delta variant on global economy
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, millions of people lost their jobs in 2020. Those who did not lose their jobs have had to reduce their work hours due to COVID-19 restrictions. Others had to take a pay cut due to the economic fallout from the pandemic. The problem of unemployment is that it eventually affects the economy.
Unemployment adversely affects the disposable income of families, erodes purchasing power, diminishes employee morale, and finally reduces an economy’s output. Due to COVID-19, economies of great countries like the USA have taken major hits and have barely recovered. With this rising COVID Delta variant threat, there is bound to be more trouble.
5. The impact of COVID Delta variant on global education
Many students around the world have been forced to learn from home. Even in a third-world country like Nigeria where online educational facilities have not been fully developed, students stay home. Unfortunately, learning online is just not the same as learning in the classroom. During online exams, students have been known to cheat which would have been better curbed had they been in school. Sadly, those without access to online facilities have no way to continue their education.
5.1 The shift to distance learning
When COVID-19 cases began receding, many schools resumed physical activities. However, with this COVID Delta variant, some schools have resorted to online schooling again. Though many students have complained about it, it might be safer to school online. The University of Lagos, Nigeria is an example.
On the 20th of March 2020, students were asked to vacate the school due to the rise in COVID-19 cases. Later online classes began on January 25, 2021. When COVID-19 cases were reduced in Nigeria, the school resumed physically on May 10, 2021. Sadly, due to the COVID Delta variant threat, the school had to close its hostels and send its students home on the 13th of July 2021. Today, July 26, 2021, the school has resumed online lectures.
6. The impact of COVID Delta variant on global health
The European Medicines Agency said it had found links between vaccination with Moderna’s and BioNTech/Pfizer’s coronavirus jabs and heart inflammation. This is one of the many possible side effects of COVID-19. There might be specific vaccine creations for the COVID Delta variant but who knows what side effects there will be?
Besides, while the COVID Delta variant is fast becoming a major concern, some infectious diseases are breaking out. This is probably because the immune systems of some people have not fully recovered due to the COVID-19 impact. An example of such infectious disease risk is the prominent respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) in the USA.
During the pandemic, RSV seemed to have disappeared. But now it’s making a comeback, and the CDC is calling for healthcare providers to be on the alert. It is hoped that the world will not have to move from one disease outbreak to another.
7. Covid Delta variant might occasion another strict lockdown
The COVID-19 pandemic was unexpected and very horrible. People died in their thousands regardless of gender and even age. COVID Delta variant is worse than the original coronavirus strain and another series of restrictions might just be around the corner. However, scientists are working fervently on vaccines to combat this new strain.
The success of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines in reducing COVID Delta cases is quite encouraging. It might just be that all aspects of human life will return to normalcy soon.