• Original Articles By Dr. Lavin Featuring Expert Advice & Information about Pediatric Health Issues that you Care the Most About

    COVID-19 Update July 6 , 2021: The Delta Variant Is Here – Deadly Cases of COVID Are Back, Almost Entirely in the Unimmunized

    By Dr. Arthur Lavin


    • Virus– a type of germ that consists solely of a bit of genetic material (DNA or RNA) wrapped in a protein coat.  The coat gets the genes into the target cell where the genes force the cell to make zillions of new viruses, and on it goes.
    • Variant- also known as a mutation, a variant strain of a virus is the same species of virus but with a change in the genetic code.  The change is minor if it has no impact on contagious the new variant is, or how deadly it is, or if it allows the virus to neutralize our vaccines.
    • Coronavirus– a species name of a number of different viruses.  Called corona because its protein coat is studded with spike shapes that form a crown, halo, or corona of spikes
    • SARS-CoV-2– the specific name of the new coronavirus
    • COVID-19-the name of the illness that the new coronavirus is causing
    • Endemic– an illness always present in a region.  One could say strep throat is endemic in the US
    • Epidemic– a sudden burst of an illness that comes and goes over a limited time
    • Pandemic– an epidemic that bursts across the world not just one region
    • Spreadability– how contagious is the disease, how many people will end up infected
    • Symptoms- the experience of being ill, for example- fever, cough, headaches, loss of smell etc.
      • Asymptomatic– literally means “without symptoms”.  For COVID-19 it refers a person infected with the virus but has no and will have not symptoms
      • Presymptomatic– This is a person who was infected with SARS-CoV-2, and will feel sick, but hasn’t yet
    • Severity– what harm does the disease cause, in terms of  how sick you get and how many it will kill
    • Mask- a mask is a loose-fitting cloth or textile that covers the mouth and nose loosely.  A surgical mask is a mask used in surgery
    • Respirator-  for the purposes of the COVID-19 pandemic and other respiratory illnesses, a respirator is a mask that fits very snugly or tightly to the user’s face.  An N95 mask is a respirator.
    • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)- PPE are any item that covers any part of the body with the design and intent of keeping viruses in the environment from infecting the wearer of the PPE. PPE’s include all masks (which includes respirators), face shields, eye shields, gloves, gowns.
    • Ventilator- a ventilator is a machine that can force a person unable to breathe to inhale and exhale and control both effectively.  They are sometimes called respirators, but during this pandemic the word respirator is now reserved for reference to a tightly fit mask.
    • Live Virus Swab– this is the swab which attempts to swipe live virus from one’s nose or throat to see if you are currently infected.
    • Antibody Test- (aka serology test) this is the blood test which looks for antibody to the SARS-CoV-2 virus to see if you have been infected in the past.
    • Vaccine Terms
      • Vaccine or Immunization– a dose of a substance that activates your immune system, as if you have the actual infection you are hoping to prevent, leaving you in fact protected from having that infection.
      • Efficacy– the percentage of people immunized with a particular vaccine who will not get infected if exposed to the target infection.  For example, a COVID-19 vaccine will be said to be 95% effective if 95% of people immunized with that particular COVID-19 vaccine will not get COVID-19 if exposed to COVID-19
      • mRNA– DNA works by dictating exactly which proteins your cell will make.  The message on how to construct each protein is delivered to the cell machinery that makes proteins by a piece of genetic material called messenger RNA, or mRNA
      • mRNA vaccine– an mRNA vaccine places a small bit of mRNA code that makes your cells make a protein that is the protein from a virus that alerts your immune system and activates it to make protections against you being infected
      • Viral vector vaccine– a viral vector vaccine takes a harmless virus that is known to infect people reliably and places that weakened virus in a person where that virus will in fact infect the person.  The virus is not only weakened, but also attached to a set of genes  that makes your cells make a protein that is the protein from a virus that alerts your immune system and activates it to make protections against you being infected.

    Readers of Real Answers know that every time we get a virus, the virus can change as it copies itself in the very process we call infection.  This is true for many viruses, and clearly is true for COVID’s SARS-CoV-2 virus.  As the virus continues to infect millions of people, it will continue to mutate, or change, creating new types called variants.

    In India, the main variant that has achieved the ability to spread fiercely, and now infects people around the world is called the Delta variant.

    Fortunately for everyone in the United States who has wisely decided to protect themselves and those they love, who are 12 years old and older, from the very real dangers of a COVID infection, by getting fully immunized, the Delta variant poses no or very trivial dangers.  This variant does not infect the fully immunized very commonly and when it rarely does, it almost never leads to hospitalization or death, again in the fully immunized.

    But, if you are not immunized, the Delta variant is dangerous.  It can infect, it can cause terrible harm, and it can and does kill.  The Delta variant is now spreading in all 50 states of America.  And it can harm our children, particularly those over 12 years old.

    At this time, the low immunization rates amongst our children ages 12-20, and the ease of spread of COVID in this age group by Delta, has led to the tragedy that about 1/3 of all hospitalizations for COVID in America are in our 12-20 year old children.

    The terrible reality is that right now, in poorly immunized communities, over 90% of deaths by COVID are in those who have not been immunized.

    Bottom Lines

    1. The Delta variant is here.
    2. The Delta variant in relatively harmless to the fully immunized
    3. The Delta variant presents a very clear, and extremely severe danger to those not immunized, particularly everyone ages 12 years old and up.
    4. The Delta variant can hurt adolescents and young adults.
    5. The Delta variant can cause far more harm to anyone’s heart or body than the COVID vaccine

    My Takeaway – In One Sentence:

    Right now, across every state in America, the COVID virus is finding a path to hurt and endanger those who have chosen to not get the COVID vaccine:  Please, Please, Please make sure everyone you know and love who is 12 years old or older gets the COVID vaccine and now, Delta is here.

    To your health,
    Dr. Arthur Lavin



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