Once contracted, delta variant 'bites on and doesn't let go': expert weighs in

Coronavirus delta variant.
Coronavirus delta variant. Photo credit Getty Images
By , KCBS Radio

The delta variant continues to surge throughout the world, causing new cases to arise and reviving pandemic restrictions.

There are many aspects of the delta variant that make it feel more sinister than the original virus, including how contagious it is.

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"When it gets onto the nose and the mouth, it bites on and doesn’t let go," Dr. Peter Chin-Hong, professor of medicine and associate dean for regional campuses at UCSF, said on KCBS Radio’s "Ask An Expert" on Monday.

The delta variant also produces more of the virus than other variants, and there can be just as much of it present in vaccinated and unvaccinated people once infected.

However, in vaccinated people, the symptoms of the delta variant typically feel more like the common cold, because the vaccine is doing its job.

But it can still be spread to others, regardless of symptoms. Right now what medical experts are most worried about are the people who have these mild symptoms and assume they’re allergies, or something similar, said Chin-Hong.

According to Chin-Hong, the top five symptoms of vaccinated people are:
- Headache
- Runny nose
- Sore throat
- Loss of smell
- Sneezing (which hasn’t been seen before with COVID-19)

Of course, unvaccinated people are more susceptible to the worst effects.

Hospitalizations at UCSF have increased eight-fold since the state’s reopening first began. "But the good news is so far, we’re still able to manage all these people who get sick," said Chin-Hong.

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