Health Headlines: How much more infectious is the Delta variant?


(WTNH) – In Health Headlines, exactly how much more transmissible the Delta variant really is, and we could see more COVID cases in kids this fall than we did last year.

With the original COVID strain, if you have 100 people infected for five cycles of transmissions, or sets of infections, you would have about 10,000 people infected. The numbers and rate of spread are much different with the Delta variant.

“Five cycles later, you’re up to 500,000 people,” said Dr. F. Perry Wilson, Yale Medicine Physician.

From 10,000 to 500,000 people infected among unvaccinated people. Dr. Wilson says that demonstrates that we are in a different world than we were a year ago and we’ll be seeing schools in Connecticut opening soon.

“I have to say, I think we’re going to see more outbreaks this year than we did last year, but for all your viewers, remember outbreaks tend to be fairly mild in kids. The real danger is when kids bring those infections home to people who might be vulnerable,” Dr. Wilson said.

WEB EXTRA: Full interview with Yale Medicine physician and researcher Dr. F. Perry Wilson

He says that is why it’s so important for those vulnerable or are able to be vaccinated to get the short. New on Monday in a medical journal is that younger kids are more likely to transmit the virus than older kids. Dr. Wilson says that older kids are better at isolating themselves.

Most interestingly is that there is a dramatic effect in the time between kids’ symptoms and testing.

“The longer the interval between when the kid first developed symptoms and when they got their COVID test dramatically increased the rate of transmission,” Dr. Wilson said.

Dr. Wilson underscores the need to get children tested for COVID, even if you think it is just a cold or allergies, because as he points out, it can reduce the amount of time the virus can transmit and infect others.

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