We looked at all the key questions about the Delta variant, including where it came from, how it appeared in Australia, and whether the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines will protect people against it.
What is the Delta variant?
Formerly known as B.1.617.2, or the Indian strain, Delta is the name given to a new variant of the strain that devastated India during its second wave.
Why are we talking about it now?
Delta was found in Victoria on Friday after a West Melbourne family tested positive after traveling to the New South Wales region. Two people in the family were infected.
Okay, and why is it so bad?
Any link between the Sydney case in May, a man and his wife from the eastern suburbs of the city and the two members of the Victorian family is unknown. At the time, it was believed that there was no Delta community extension in Sydney. The Sydney man visited many places in Australia’s most populous city.
Where did the Victorian family travel?
They visited Goulburn and Jervis Bay before they developed symptoms and were tested.
Does the Victoria Health Department have a theory on this?
Professor Brett Sutton, Victoria’s health director, said it’s possible the family got infected while in New South Wales, but said Delta is more likely to spread between two fifth-graders at school.
Is Delta more transmissible among young people?
Could be. The Delta variant was found in 140 outbreaks in schools and educational settings in the UK, according to UK government data.
So how contagious is Delta?
The World Health Organization (WHO) has categorized it as a variant of concern, stating that it had “significantly higher transmissibility” and that a “growing number of countries (were) reporting outbreaks associated with this variant.”
How did Delta get into Australia?
That is not conclusively known. But most likely it came from a hotel’s quarantine system.
Do Delta Vaccines Work?
Early data suggests that the vaccines are slightly less effective against Delta. But experts say that after two doses the results give cause for confidence. Some studies show that, after two doses, Pfizer is 88 percent effective against Delta, with the lowest AstraZeneca, 59.8 percent.
How do second strokes work again?
Currently, all vaccines deployed in Australia require a second dose to be effective. Pfizer has a 21-day waiting period between doses, but there is a 12-week interval for AstraZeneca.
What does Delta’s appearance mean for Victoria’s running of the bulls?
For those hoping that the end is in sight, it is a worrying development and the next few days will be key. Experts believe the lockdown will be extended if more Delta cases are found.
What is the Alpha variant?
The Alpha variant is the name given to the variant that hit the UK hard last year.
The Kappa variant was first detected in India and is the strain that was circulating in all cases in this latest outbreak in Victoria, that is, until Delta was discovered.