What you should know about the Variant strains affecting Delawareans

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“The vaccines are extraordinarily powerful and potent in working to prevent disease,” said Robert B. Darnell, a physician and biochemist at Rockefeller University in New York. “They’re incredibly good.”

NEW CASTLE (DE) BY DIGITAL STAFF: The Delta variant is being closely monitored by Delaware Health officials as a rash of high-profile breakthrough infections among people who are fully vaccinated for COVID-19 might suggest the coronavirus is regularly blasting by vaccinated people’s immune barriers.

Health experts say the breakthrough infections are not surprising, nor do they suggest vaccines are widely failing. 

“Breakthrough infections are to be expected, even when you have highly effective vaccines,” said Roy M. Gulick, chief of infectious disease at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York.

As of last week, among the 460,420 Delawareans who have been fully vaccinated, there have been 456 breakthrough cases of COVID-19, less than one-tenth of 1 percent.

Twenty-two of the reported breakthrough cases involved hospitalizations and six individuals passed away, although it does not mean COVID was the cause of death.

“The vaccines are extraordinarily powerful and potent in working to prevent disease,” said Robert B. Darnell, a physician and biochemist at Rockefeller University in New York. “They’re incredibly good.”

Delaware doctor stands proudly.According to scientific data from the CDC, vaccination significantly reduces the chance to developing COVID-19 or becoming seriously ill from it. To date, 465,378 Delawareans have been fully vaccinated. Of those, there have been 518 breakthrough cases of COVID-19, one-tenth of 1 percent.

The Division of Public Health explains that a breakthrough case is defined as testing positive for COVID-19 after an individual has been fully vaccinated for two weeks or more – although it does not mean that the infection actually occurred after vaccination. Twenty-two of the reported breakthrough cases involved hospitalizations, and eight individuals passed away, although it does not mean COVID was the cause of death.

Breakthrough cases are extremely rare, and the science is clear, the best way to prevent serious illness from COVID-19 is to get vaccinated. | Delaware Division of Public Health

As of Friday, July 23, the Division of Public Health has identified the following COVID-19 variants in Delaware through routine surveillance of test specimens. These variants are based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) list of Variants of Concern and Variants of Interest. There were no Delta variant cases identified during sequencing over the past week.

Source | Delaware Division of Public Health

The Delaware Public Health Laboratory has sequenced 3,363 specimens for COVID-19 variant strains to date, including 46 within the past week. In aggregate, the cases include 1,157 adults ranging in age from 18- 98, as well as 256 individuals under the age of 18. One thousand and sixty-four individuals were from New Castle County, 181 were from Kent County and 168 were from Sussex County.

See Delaware’s latest COVID-19 vaccination statistics Vaccine Tracker dashboard at de.gov/healthycommunity.

Virus mutation is common. Sequencing for variants is a complex process and not used for diagnosing COVID-19. It is used after a positive case of COVID-19 has been identified for surveillance purposes, or in identifying the presence of a variant strain in the community.

When variant strains are identified, public health approaches and treatments do not currently change. But because these variants may spread more easily, it is even more important that unvaccinated individuals who are more susceptible to getting COVID-19 continue taking the necessary steps to avoid spreading the virus – wearing a mask, washing your hands, and avoiding gatherings.

The science is clear that the vaccines are extremely safe and effective even against variants – and Delawareans who are fully vaccinated have significant protection from COVID-19 infection and serious illness. We would encourage all Delawareans to get vaccinated – de.gov/getmyvaccine.

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Delaware Newsline is a digital Delaware News Organization that provides local and national breaking news content to its Delaware and U.S. audience, by utilizing multiple platforms including web, social media, and video.

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