Delta Plus – Should You Be Worried?

There’s a new variant of Covid-19 called ‘Delta Plus’ – should you be worried? Read on for more.


 

KEY FACTS

A new sub-variant of the Delta variant of the Covid-19 virus has been identified in England. Here are some key facts about it:

  • It’s got various names including ‘Delta Plus’, ‘AY. 4.2’ and ‘VUI-21OCT-01’.
  • At the moment,1 about 8.5% of all Delta variant infections are Delta Plus, but those numbers are increasing week on week. The fact that Delta Plus is growing as a proportion of all Delta cases might mean that Delta Plus is more successful as a virus than Delta.
  • Scientific laboratory studies of the new variant seem to show that Delta Plus is about 10 to 15% more infectious than Delta2 – in other words, that if the same number of people were exposed to the two variants under the same conditions, more would catch Delta Plus than would catch Delta. But this hasn’t yet been confirmed by large-scale studies.
  • Data so far seems to confirm that Delta Plus is definitely more successful than Delta in infecting people inside households.3 This means that if someone catches Delta Plus, it is more likely that members of that person’s household would catch Delta Plus than if the original person had caught Delta.
  • Why Delta Plus is more infectious than Delta isn’t yet known.
  • Scientists don’t yet know if Delta Plus causes more serious illness than Delta or if vaccines are less effective against Delta Plus than Delta. However, there has been an increase in people going into hospital with Covid-19 and dying of Covid-19 at the same time as Delta Plus has started to increase. But it is too early to know if the two things are connected or whether this is just coincidence.
  • The UK’s Health Security Agency is taking a ‘wait and see’ attitude to Delta Plus, but other countries are more alarmed about it. Read the UKHSA report here.

 

SHOULD I BE WORRIED?

Yes: Delta Plus is more infectious than Delta and it is already circulating in Bucks.4 So, taking strict precautions to avoid catching Covid-19 are even more important.

Delta Plus, like Delta, is an airborne virus – it travels in the air breathed out by infected people. So, the three best ways to protect yourself are now:

  1. Getting vaccinated against Covid-19 and getting booster doses as soon as you can, if you’re eligible. Vaccination will help you avoid getting seriously ill if you catch Delta Plus.
  2. Making sure you are breathing clean fresh air, not air contaminated by other people’s breath. This means opening windows wide or being out of doors when you meet people who might be infected.
  3. Keeping well away from people who might be infected and breathing out the virus, by avoiding indoor places as much as possible and socially distancing even outdoors.

Wearing a loose cloth face-covering yourself, washing your hands and using hand sanitiser are still important but these precautions are not as effective against Delta and Delta Plus because the virus mainly travels by air.

There is no evidence yet that Delta Plus is more dangerous than Delta in the sense that people will get more seriously ill or be more likely to die if they catch it. But Delta is dangerous enough on its own, even to vaccinated people.

Remember, it is not safe to catch Covid-19. Even if you are not very ill when you first catch it, there is a real clinical risk that you can develop long-term conditions afterward or even end up with organ or brain damage. Over a million people, both adults and children, are already disabled by or suffering symptoms of ‘Long Covid’.


 

BuDS IS HERE TO HELP

If you need advice on how to keep yourself safe, or any other form of help or support, or you’re anxious about Covid-19, BuDS is here for you. Please e-mail buds-support@buds.org.uk, call 01494 211179 (voicemail) or message us and we’ll do all we can to help.


 

REFERENCES

[1] As of time of writing, 31 Oct. 21

[2] https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1029715/technical-briefing-27.pdf

[3] Ibid.

[4] As reported by the Bucks Herald (https://www.bucksherald.co.uk/news/people/delta-plus-covid-variant-found-in-high-percentage-of-test-samples-in-aylesbury-vale-3433444) using data from the Wellcome Sanger Institute (https://covid19.sanger.ac.uk/lineages/raw?show=B.1.617.2%2CAY.4.2&latitude=51.634228&longitude=-0.956946&zoom=6.546173&area=overview)