Story by: Norton Healthcare on July 27, 2021
The COVID-19 lambda variant may not be as infectious as the delta variant, which is spreading rapidly in the United States. However, the data is very preliminary and medical science doesn’t yet know if lambda will require a different response to COVID-19.
“It seems like lambda is not taking off like delta has,” said Joseph M. Flynn, D.O., MPH, FACP, chief administrative officer, Norton Medical Group, and physician-in-chief, Norton Cancer Institute. The delta variant has been hospitalizing and killing primarily those who haven’t been vaccinated and accounts for more than 80% of new COVID-19 cases nationally.
“It’s within reason to expect us to find the lambda variant increasingly over time. But based on the preliminary data, it’s not going to be at that rate that we’ve seen with delta.”
The main question now, Dr. Flynn said, is whether lambda affects the medical community’s approach to COVID-19. Guidelines continue to stress vaccination, masking, social distancing and hand-washing.
The lambda variant was originally found in Peru in August of last year, but was initially spreading at very low levels.
“Peru has had the highest mortality in the world from COVID-19, and it’s really been catastrophic in that country. It’s the predominant variant in Peru now,” Dr. Flynn said.
The best tool we have against all of the variants continues to be vaccination. As more prominent people in media and politics see the delta variant spreading among the unvaccinated, more of them are stepping up to encourage others to get the shot.
The COVID-19 vaccine is free, and after millions of doses around the world, side effects other than some mild flu-like symptoms for a short time have been rare. The vaccine has been proven highly effective against preventing severe COVID-19, hospitalization and death.
With more variants of COVID-19 spreading and evidence that the vaccines are safe and effective, now is the time to get the shot if you haven’t already.
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