The Delta dilemma; what’s different now, doc?

As COVID-19’s presumed Delta variant entails a rapid surge of cases throughout the United States once more, here’s the run-down on what front-line workers are seeing—new AND old.

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JasminParrado

As COVID-19’s presumed Delta variant entails a rapid surge of cases throughout the United States once more, here’s the run-down on what front-line workers are seeing—new AND old.

Jasmin Parrado, Staff Writer

Through time and time alone, the spread of the virus that initially stalled our normal course of life and human behavior with its global escalation in 2020 has proven to be tumultuously prevalent in its mutating. With the COVID-19 Delta variant dominating the percentage of cases at, according to CDC data, a staggering 83% since early July, there is no question of its strength despite our responsive efforts.

So we know it’s up and about here—but what is it bringing to the table?

Of course, there comes the influx of fresh cases as the major wave breaks loose. We all know the tale of airborne infectious agents and masks with cheetah-print designs; the question is, what is the outlook on the front lines? Medical workers will tell you many things, but not before running out of breath and thinking about how they should have been veterinarians instead.

For starters, consider the factors that have determined what the hospitals see on a day-to-day basis: with varying populations of the young and elderly as well as the vaccinated and unvaccinated, it makes for a tricky response based on the specific impact over each group. During the last wave, the elderly population was the focus; incredible risk factors and fatal consequences led healthcare workers to establish priority on vaccinating and treating older patients in order to slow the rise of the death toll.

This time around, it’s hitting the populations that were previously deemed less likely to suffer the severities of the virus. The Morbidity and Mortality report from the CDC in late May stated that 38.3% of 18–29-year-old individuals in the United States were vaccinated—a stark minority in comparison to an 80% vaccination rate among those who were 65 and older.

However alarming, this peculiar discovery is explainable; due to prioritized populations receiving more vaccinations than those that entailed uncertainties or less urgent repercussions of the virus, a good majority of those in the remaining groups have strayed from vaccinating themselves. Many young people have not considered it, simply because they assume the impact of the virus will be less harsh with their biology (or the complete opposite).

With that in mind, this poses another problem. This summer, the CDC reported that 98.3% of the patients who contracted COVID-19 were unvaccinated.

“The mean average age now is much lower,” says Ysulin Parrado, an emergency room nurse from Sarasota Memorial Hospital. “We’re seeing younger patients, and we are seeing different populations such as maternity, which was not even within our radar on the last COVID surge.”

This is where the constant web and cycling of contamination comes into play: populations that consist of individuals such as expecting mothers and young adults garner the next round of mutation unknowingly.

Thankfully, front-line workers are looking to maneuver this situation with a state of readiness to prepare for the rounds, learning each and every time about what works or fails as an aid to those inflicted with the virus.

“We’re certainly better prepared because we’ve dealt with the end result of COVID-19,” Parrado observed, “But it does not make it easier. There’s ethical, moral, and strategical dilemmas.”

These challenges still stand as deaths still rise. However, it is essential to recognize what we are facing in order to develop a solution and think of ways to better protect those around us. We most certainly have the potential to compensate for the difficulties of slowing this rapid pace of growth; as time goes on and reveals each result, we will know what stands before us and how to survive it.

“I think we’ll catch up,” Parrado mused. “I understand that viruses tend to mutate. A lot of what’s not being said is what the human body is capable of doing. We also evolve.”