A surge in Coronavirus cases has been reported worldwide in recent months — and health experts believe that the highly contagious Delta type is playing a key role.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the alpha strain has spread about 55% faster than the variant that first was detected in the United Kingdom late last year and is spreading almost about 50% more rapidly than the variant that first became apparent in the second half of 2019.
Former member of President Joe Biden’s Covid Response Team Andy Slavitt told CNN last week that the Delta variant is the 2020 equivalent of Covid-19. Find out below why it’s spreading so rapidly and what else you should know about the variant.
India was the first country to identify it. Indian officials first detected Delta in the country in December 2020. The health care system in the country collapsed under its weight as it quickly became the dominant variant. Following its discovery, it was found in the United Kingdom.
As Ashish Jha, dean of Brown University School of Public Health, explained, this has been the most contagious form of the virus throughout the entire pandemic. Despite its contagious nature, it’s difficult to contain.
Currently, all 50 of the United States have it. Into early July, more than half of cases tested in the United States were from the United States, according to the first case identified in March. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the US report that it makes up 83% of all cases in the country.
CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky told Senate committee members that the week of July 3 had seen a 50% increase from the week prior. All 50 US states have been found to harbor the Delta variant. As of Tuesday, cases had risen in 46 states, according to data on influenza from Johns Hopkins University. The increase is primarily among people who are unvaccinated — the number of new infections in the country is up 55% from last week. Since the start of this month, hospitalizations were up 52%.
Strains continue to spread quickly
Is there a reason for the rapid spread of the virus? According to one study, Delta strains spread more rapidly than other strains since they can reproduce within our bodies more often. Researchers in China found that patients with the Delta variant had 1,260 times higher viral loads than those with strains dating back to the early days of the pandemic.
Jha said that there are so many more viruses around, and people infected have such high viral loads, but even short periods of time such as five minutes or seven minutes can be infectious. This is because it is spread by mingling. A person who is unvaccinated gets infected with much shorter exposure because they are unvaccinated.
In the United States, vaccines available against Delta variants are showing effectiveness. People who are fully vaccinated usually don’t become very sick, even though there may be some breakthrough cases.
The CDC has issued a warning about a “pandemic of the unvaccinated” because fewer than half of the US population is fully immunized. In addition, you should cover your mouth, distance yourself from others, and avoid gatherings indoors if you are not vaccinated.
Walensky said last week that approximately 97% of people who are hospitalized with Covid-19 are unvaccinated. Dr. Vivek Murthy, US Surgeon General, told reporters on Sunday that 99.5% of American deaths are caused by unvaccinated people. It would be best for us to vaccinate people as quickly as possible to avoid a pandemic, Murthy said.
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