LIVE: Gangrene, Hearing Loss Point to Delta Variant Being More Severe | Top News

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    (June 7) The coronavirus variant that drove India’s devastating Covid-19 epidemic is the most infectious to emerge so far. Doctors now want to know if it’s also more severe.

    Hearing impairment, severe gastric upsets and blood clots leading to gangrene, symptoms not typically seen in Covid patients, have been linked by doctors in India to the so-called Delta variant. In England and Scotland, early evidence suggests the now-dominant strain carries a higher risk of hospitalization.

    Delta, also known as B.1.617.2, has spread to more than 60 countries over the past six months and triggered travel curbs from Australia to the U.S. A spike in infections, fueled by the Delta variant, has put pressure on the U.K. government to reconsider its plans of reopening later this month. Higher rates of transmission compared with other variants, and a reduction in the effectiveness of vaccines, have made understanding the strain’s effects especially critical.

    “We need more scientific research to analyze if these newer clinical presentations are linked to B.1.617 or not,” said Abdul Ghafur, an infectious disease physician at the Apollo Hospital in Chennai, southern India’s largest city. Ghafur said he is seeing more Covid-19 patients with diarrhea now than in the initial wave of the epidemic.

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