History repeating itself with Delta variant

Local News

OGDEN, Utah (ABC4)- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said “the war has changed” because of the Delta variant. It said one person sick with the Delta variant could infect up to nine people in close contact.  

A microbiology professor at Weber State University said there are a lot of similarities between the coronavirus pandemic and past pandemics. Craig Oberg said he is not surprised to hear how easily transmissible the Delta variant is.  

“I think most people in the population hear the word variant and it strikes them as new. But they’ve really been around variants their whole life,” he says.

He said viruses constantly change through mutation and new variants of a virus are expected.  

“Since the influenza virus mutates so rapidly every year, there’s new variants of the influenza virus and we have to get a new influenza vaccine,” Oberg said.  

Variants were involved in several other pandemics before the Coronavirus pandemic too.  

“In 1918 they had the first wave; it was probably similar in retrospect to the influenza we have today, and a lot of people didn’t get overly concerned but it did infect a lot of people. We couldn’t control it with the vaccine and then a mutation occurred. We got a variant of a new strain of it, a little more successful and in this case a lot more virulent,” Oberg said.  

He said historically there are two ways to get out of the pandemic.  

“Number one everyone gets it {the virus} unless you’re lucky and then when it’s over we see who is still standing. Or we develop a vaccine that is effective, and we give it to the population and a lot more people are standing,” Oberg said.  

As the Delta variant exploits low global vaccination rates Oberg said once again, we see how many people forget our history. 

However, he’s hopeful this time around that the outcome will be different.  

“Certainly, our population has become so uncomfortable and has so much fatigue that maybe this lesson will last longer because this virus is not going away anytime soon,” Oberg said.  

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