Delta variant is more contagious than its predecessors, but COVID-19 vaccines still offer strong protection against it

What should I know about the delta variant?

Still, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cited the delta push for its updated advice that fully vaccinated people return to wear masks indoors in areas with high transmission. The change is based on recent research suggesting that vaccinated people who are infected with the delta variant can pass it on to others, even if those vaccinated do not become seriously ill.

The new guidelines help protect the unvaccinated, including children who are not yet eligible for vaccines, and others who are at high risk of serious illness if infected.

Some breakthrough cases with mild or no symptoms were still expected, as vaccines were designed to prevent serious illness. The CDC no longer publicly counts these milder breakthrough cases, but a Kaiser Family Foundation analysis of data from states that keep a tally found they only represent a tiny fraction of all COVID-19 infections. .

It’s not yet clear whether the Delta variant makes people sicker. But experts say it spreads more easily due to mutations that allow it to attach better to cells in our bodies.

The delta, first detected in India, quickly became dominant wherever it landed, including the United States

Viruses are constantly mutating and most of the changes are not of concern. But the concern is that an uncontrolled spread could fuel mutations and produce an even more contagious variant, cause more serious illness or escape the protection offered by vaccines.

This is why experts say making vaccines accessible globally is so critical. And they note the importance of being fully immunized; getting a single dose of the two-dose vaccines is not as protective against delta.

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The AP answers your questions about the coronavirus in this series. Submit them to: FactCheck@AP.org. Read more here:

Should I be tested for COVID-19 if I am vaccinated?

Should vaccinated people mask themselves in the face of the increase in COVID-19 cases?

What is a COVID-19 vaccine “breakthrough” case?

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