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8 answers to your questions about the COVID-19 delta variant in Connecticut

Hartford Courant
Hartford Courant
Hartford, Ct. - 06/30/2021 - Nurse Jessica Allen stands ready with a COVID-19 vaccine as cars trickle through the vaccine mega-site at the Pratt & Whitney airstrip and run by Community Health Center. Today was the site's last day of operation. Photograph by Mark Mirko | Mark Mirko/Hartford Courant

With the delta variant now dominant in Connecticut, the state could be facing yet another COVID-19 spike.

As the new variant has taken hold in recent weeks, Connecticut has seen an increase in both its positivity rate and its number of new cases. Hospitalizations have increased as well, though they remain far lower than at other times during the pandemic.

Here are some answers to questions we have received about the variant and the recent uptick in cases.

These questions were submitted by followers of the @hartfordcourant Instagram account .

What is the difference between the delta variant and what we saw last year?

The delta variant is more contagious, meaning it will spread more quickly, particularly among unvaccinated people. Experts say Connecticut’s high rate of vaccination should help prevent a full-on surge like we saw last fall.

Are vaccinated people at risk?

Experts say the new variant poses a particular risk to unvaccinated people, who make up the vast majority of people currently hospitalized with COVID-19. Vaccinated people may face greater risk of infection due to the delta variant as compared to previous strains, research shows, but are unlikely to experience severe illness.

What percentage of positive cases are vaccinated people?

Connecticut’s Department of Public Health has not released that information, but in Massachusetts more than 40% of cases have come from vaccinated people. That said, the people hospitalized with COVID-19 overwhelmingly tend to be unvaccinated.

This is consistent with research showing that the vaccines are not perfect in preventing infection but are very successful in preventing severe illness.

Should vaccinated people wear masks indoors as a precaution?

Connecticut does not currently require masks indoors, but many health officials say they continue to wear them anyway, despite being vaccinated.

How many of the cases are pediatric cases?

From July 4-17, about 22% of Connecticut’s cases were in people under age 20. People in their 20s were the age group most likely to get infected. This may owe to the fact that younger people have lower rates of vaccination (and people under age 12 are not eligible).

What effect will the new variant have on schools this fall?

It’s hard to predict six weeks out, but experts have long forecast some sort of fall wave, albeit one hopefully much smaller than the one last fall.

Gov. Lamont has not yet announced whether students will be required to wear masks.

Could we be facing another lockdown?

Gov. Lamont has said he does not plan to implement a mask mandate or any other new restrictions, though officials elsewhere (including on Cape Cod) have begun to do so.

Is there a way to test if you have the delta variant specifically?

There is no specific way to test which strain you have, but if you test positive for COVID right now you can probably assume it’s the delta variant.

Researchers determine the prevalence of the delta variant by sequencing samples in a laboratory.

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