Health officials urge awareness of different virus symptoms as delta variant looms

Dr. Randell Daily draws a dose of COVID-19 vaccine at the community vaccination center at Tulsa Community College Northeast Campus in April. 

TULSA – Health officials are urging residents to be aware of new symptoms possible under a quick-spreading COVID-19 variant as it marches down the Interstate 44 corridor from southwestern Missouri to the Oklahoma City metro area.

The symptoms of the delta variant, which is most notorious for ravaging India’s hospital system, differ slightly from those of the original COVID-19 strain, OU’s chief COVID officer said.

Unlike the original strain, which caused predominant symptoms of fever, cough or loss of taste or smell, common symptoms of the delta variant — which spreads more easily and carries twice the risk of hospitalization — are a headache, sore throat, runny nose or fever.

Anyone experiencing symptoms of the delta variant is urged to get tested, Dr. Dale Bratzler said during a virtual panel discussion Tuesday representing health care professional organizations from around the state.

As long as there is unchecked spread of COVID-19, it will continue to mutate, he explained.

“All viruses mutate,” Bratzler said. “And the more they spread, the more they replicate, the more they mutate.”