CDC: Delta variant is as contagious as chickenpox

Coronavirus Local Impact

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The war against COVID-19 has changed, that’s what the CDC is saying with the rise of the Delta variant, the strongest mutated strain of COVID-19 we’ve seen, so far.

A new report released by the CDC specifically on the Delta variant, suggests that this variant is just as contagious as chickenpox.

“When you compare it to varicella, the virus that causes chickenpox, the ability to infect other people, is 1 person infecting 12 people,” said Dr. Armando Paez, Chief of Baystate Medical Center’s Infectious Disease Division.

This means it can be spread more easily than SARS, Ebola, the common cold, the seasonal flu, and smallpox. If you aren’t vaccinated and contract the Delta variant, the CDC now says your chances of getting severe COVID-19 symptoms may be much higher. At Baystate Medical Center, they have seen first hand how Delta affects patients and why its way worse than the original strain.

“It looks like it with the combination of its ability to be transmitted more effectively and cause more serious illness is a bad combination,” said Dr. Paez. “That leads to hospitalization and death.”

Dr. Paez also said based on recent data, even if you’re vaccinated, those who are fully vaccinated can still spread the delta variant just as easily as a non-vaccinated individual. So that’s why the CDC is recommending vaccinated people to wear masks in crowded, indoor settings to slow down transmission.

Although both doses of the vaccine gives you roughly 90 percent protection against the Delta variant, it wasn’t specifically made to neutralize it, something Dr. Paez believes vaccine manufacturers will likely aim to do in the future.

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