Breaking down the COVID-19 Delta variant

Coronavirus

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The delta variant has health officials on alert for the uptick in COVID-19 cases. Nevada is reporting more than 100 confirmed cases.

The delta variant is a mutation of the COVID-19 strain, and according to an infectious disease expert at UNLV, we can expect more variants like this one in the coming years.

Dr. Brian Labus is an infectious disease expert at UNLV School of Public Health. He says the biggest difference between this strain and the other strains is that it spreads more easily.

There have been no reports of it causing different diseases, deadlier or more hospitalizations, according to Dr. Labus.

It is all about the person to person spread which of course will lead to more transmission in the community because it is so contagious.

He says the only way to know if you have the delta variant is through a specialized test at the state public health lab. A normal COVID-19 test will not tell you what strain you have.

He says it does not change how you are treated but it is important for tracking the variant.

“We are going to continue to see different variants popping up. That’s just the way virus spread. Their copy process is not perfect, so that’s why we have different ones,” Dr. Labus said. “If one spreads more it’s the dominate one and will out complete the others. That’s why we are seeing more delta cases.”

The CDC and the Southern Nevada Health District are not modifying face mask mandates like those in la county. They recommend everyone — vaccinated or not — to wear a mask in large gatherings.

Dr. Labus says the people who should be more concerned are those who have not been vaccinated because they have no protection.

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