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Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed by Dr Karen MartinReviewed on 19.10.2023 | 2 minutes read

COVID-19 has morphed and changed, with new variants appearing all the time. This is normal for a virus. The Delta variant was another concerning strain of the novel coronavirus.

It was more contagious at the time of discovery than previous variants but has since been found to be less contagious than the following variant, Omicron. Nevertheless, Delta had a severe and devastating impact on people and economies worldwide. Here’s our take on it.

Delta variant

The Delta variant was first discovered in late 2020 in India. Until the discovery of the new variant, it accounted for more than 99% of cases and caused overwhelming hospitalizations.

A study by the COVID ZOE app showed that Delta caused symptoms of runny nose, headache, sore throat, sneezing, and fatigue. This was different from the original COVID-19 strain, where the symptoms were fever, continuous cough, and loss of sense of smell or taste. People who are not vaccinated are still at the most risk.

So, it’s important to follow safety measures to keep you and your loved ones safe – depending on government guidance, this might be wearing a mask, washing hands, keeping your distance, and isolating if you’ve had close contact with COVID or tested positive. They emphasize that receiving vaccinations and the booster are the best thing you can do to protect yourself from any current strain of COVID-19.

How can I get tested?

If you have coronavirus, there is no way to find out which variant you have, any test results will not be made available, and it doesn’t change the need to isolate for a set period.

There are two tests available for COVID-19. For those with symptoms, you should get a PCR test via your doctor’s office or a test center. This can take 1 to 3 days to come back.

The lateral flow test is done at home and gives a result 20 to 30 minutes later. This is available to buy from pharmacies or retailers.

If positive for either test, you should isolate for at least 5 days.

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This article has been written by UK-based doctors and pharmacists, so some advice may not apply to US users and some suggested treatments may not be available. For more information, please see our T&Cs.
Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed by Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed on 19.10.2023
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