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What are COVID-19 variants?
Alpha (B.1.1.7 and Q lineages)
Beta (B.1.351 and descendent lineages)
Delta (B.1.617.2 and AY lineages)
Gamma (P.1 and descendent lineages)
Epsilon (B.1.427 and B.1.429)
Mu (B.1.621, B.1.621.1)
Over the course of the pandemic, several variants of the COVID-19 virus have appeared and spread around the world.
Variants can spread more easily
Variants can cause more serious infections “Delta” variant is currently the dominant form of COVID-19 in the US
Responsible for a surge in COVID cases over the Summer of 2021
Accounts for over 80-90% of new infections in the US
About two times more contagious than the original virus
Current vaccines available in the US are effective against the Delta variant and other variants:
The Delta variants can cause some “breakthrough” infections in people who are vaccinated
Infections tend to be less severe or might even be asymptomatic
Some vaccinated individuals with “breakthrough” infections are contagious and can spread the virus to others
Protection from vaccines seems to decrease over time, hence the recommendation for booster shots
NOTE: The following is summarized from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (SARS-CoV-2 Variant Classifications and Definitions (cdc.gov) posted on the cdc.gov website.