COVID-19 delta variant 'as contagious as Chickenpox'

Posted 8/2/21

Last week, a Centers for Disease Control (CDC) memo stated the COVID-19 delta variant is as “contagious as Chickenpox.”

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COVID-19 delta variant 'as contagious as Chickenpox'


Last week, a Centers for Disease Control (CDC) memo stated the COVID-19 delta variant is as “contagious as Chickenpox.”

While most Baby Boomers have vivid memories of Chickenpox epidemics, that comparison may have no meaning to those under 30.

In the United States, Chickenpox is mostly a thing of the past thanks to a vaccine.

When the vaccine came out in 1995,  most parents were happy to spare their children the agony of Chickenpox because they remembered what it was like. It was, along with mumps and measles, considered one of the “normal, childhood diseases.” It was just assumed all children would get these illnesses at some point in their lives. (Note that mumps and measles are also a memory thanks to vaccines.) 

Chickenpox is caused by varicella-zoster virus, which causes an itchy rash with small, fluid-filled blisters. Other symptoms include nasuea and fever. Children who contracted Chickenpox were constantly reminded to keep from scratching the rash, because if they broke the blisters it could leave scars. In severe cases, people died from Chickenpox.

Chickenpox was so contagious that prior to the availability of the vaccine, if one child in the family caught the virus, it was highly likely the whole family would catch it. And because it was a more serious disease for adults, if a parent had not had Chickenpox as a child, they might leave the house and stay with a Friend of relative until all of the children in the family had recovered.

Chickenpox was so contagious that if an outbreak was in a school, parents just assumed their kids were going to get it if they had not already had it. Some people actually exposed their kids to sick neighborhood children in order to get it over with.

According to the CDC, the delta variant is as contagious as Chickenpox. That’s why covid cases are increasing. On Aug. 1 Florida’s hospitals set a new record for covid hospitalizations. Florida hospitals had 10,207 people hospitalized with confirmed COVID-19 cases on Aug. 1, according to data reported to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. The previous record was from July 23, 2020, in the height of the 2020 summer “covid wave” when Florida had 10,170 hospitalizations, according to the Florida Hospital Association. And the vast majority of those hospitalized (estimated at 95 to 97% nationwide by the U.S. Surgeon General) were either unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated for COVID-19.

COVID-19, delta, Chickenpox, hospitalizations, Florida