Why is the Delta variant of COVID-19 more contagious?

Published: Jul. 12, 2021 at 9:55 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - The highly contagious Delta Variant makes up more than half of all new COVID-19 cases in the United States, but what makes it so contagious? We asked local health officials why the variant is being dubbed “COVID on steroids.”

It’s basically how the virus itself has mutated and led to this particular variant of the original form.

The Delta Variant produces more virus, meaning it replicates and replicates like a thousand little bugs inside your body, so much so that researchers have 1000 times more COVID bugs in a person with the Delta Variant than people with the original COVID.

The new study, which originated in China where the virus began, showed with that much more virus inside an infected person, those bugs can spread faster and faster to other people, which is why it’s so contagious. And it’s happening even earlier in the process, before a person knows they’re sick.

“What it is, the delta variant is being able to produce a lot more of itself in the human body, than the original strain of the virus, and that means you get a higher load of the virus with each cough, breath that you take, so what it does is it supercharges someone who may have come in contact with it,” said Dr. Welsey Willeford at the Jefferson County Department of Health.

He says people who have never been exposed to COVID and have not received the vaccine are most at risk of the variant.

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