Doctor answers questions about delta variant

Published: Jul. 20, 2021 at 6:40 PM CDT
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JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - There are many questions people have about the COVID-19 delta variant.

Such as how the variant is different for the other strains, can you the delta variant if you have already had COVID, and why is it necessary to get vaccinated.

Region 8 News asked Dean at the New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine at Arkansas State University and Jonesboro City Medical Director Dr. Shane Speights to answer some of those questions.

“So, it’s normal for viruses to mutate, this is actually not uncommon,” Speights said.

He said, ideally, viruses mutate and become less infective among humans.

“But that’s not what happened here.”

He says two specific mutations allow it to become more contagious, and it all comes down to the spike protein on the virus.

A person sick with the original strain could infect two to three people.

“With this new delta variant, now if I’m sick with delta variant, I can infect six to eight people.”

So, what if you contracted COVID-19 last year or early this year, can you still get the delta variant?

The answer is yes, but you do have some immunity.

“You do have some immunity, you have some immune cells that were created by that, and there is some protection from the delta variant.”

Dr. Speights said while you do have some protection, you do not have the same degree of protection as someone fully vaccinated.

“As a matter of fact, we see a great immune response for people that have had COVID before and get vaccinated. They actually are, they’re sitting pretty well.”

He admits there is now some fatigue to the pandemic out there

“There’s fatigue on the virus itself, on all the mutations. There’s fatigue on discussion about maskng, the decision about vaccine, people don’t want to hear about it.”

While he says there is a lot of misinformation about the virus, he urges anyone who has questions to talk to a medical professional they trust.

“So I would recommend you talk to your physician, talk to your doctor about the vaccine if you have questions, if you have hesitations, you know try to get those things cleared up.”

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