Public health experts predict that the highly transmissible variant will soon overtake the Alpha strain in the United States and later become the dominant form of the coronavirus.
The Delta strain has the potential to cause epidemics in places with lower vaccination rates, as fully vaccinated people appear to have protection against it.
Antoine FauciBritish Dominance of Anthony FauciDelta Variant Raises Concern in US Overnight Health Care: FDA Says Millions of Doses of J&J From Struggling Factory Must Be Thrown Out | WHO warns Africa of long delay in vaccinations | Senior CDC official says US is not ready for next pandemic Senior CDC official warns US is not ready for next pandemic MORE, President BidenJoe Biden’s adviser to Ex-Biden said Birx told him she hoped the election would go “a certain way” Cheney tears up the Arizona election audit: “This is an effort to overthrow the democracy “the chief medical adviser of, said that the Delta strain currently constitutes more than 6 percent coronavirus infections in the United States.
But the number of Delta cases in the United States is increasing, just as it has previously done in the United Kingdom, which reported Friday a 240 percent increase in these cases in just one week. Delta variant now accounts for over 90% of all UK COVID-19 cases
Eric Feigl-Ding, epidemiologist and senior researcher at the Federation of American Scientists, said he expects Delta cases to increase in the United States at the end of next month or in August.
“If the UK is where we should learn our lessons, I think the US is going to see a big increase in less vaccinated states,” he said.
The increase in cases in the UK, he added, is a sign that its vaccination rate “is currently not enough to slow it down”.
In the UK, 78 percent of adults have received at least one dose of the vaccine and 55.4 percent are fully vaccinated. Among American adults, 64 percent have received at least one dose and 53.4 percent are fully immunized.
“What this means is that the United States is not invulnerable to the Delta variant invasion and Delta variant outbreaks,” Feigl-Ding said, noting that he hoped US vaccines would keep the total number of cases “under control”.
Yet early research indicates that the Delta variant, first identified in India in October, may be 60% more transmissible than the Alpha variant which has become the dominant strain in the United States two months ago.
The UK has confirmed 35,364 new Delta cases in the past two weeks, compared to 12,854 new Alpha cases. At the same time, the seven-day average of daily confirmed cases of COVID-19 has jumped by more than 4,600 cases since May 19, according to Our World in Data.
Preliminary figures also suggest that people infected with the Delta variant are more likely to be hospitalized than those who catch the Alpha strain, according to Public health England.
Fauci said in a briefing last week that the Delta variant is “essentially taking control” of the UK
“We cannot let this happen in the United States,” he said.
Experts believe the Delta variant contributed to the outbreak in India earlier this year, and the World Health Organization said last week that it has spread to at least 74 countries.
In the United States, the Delta strain reached 0.1% of all cases in early April, and by the end of May it represented 2.5% of all infections, according to estimates by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The agency’s projection for the two-week period ending June 5 was that 6.1% of all COVID-19 cases were Delta.
Experts agree that full vaccinations appear to be effective against the strain, especially in preventing serious illness and death.
A preprint study of Public Health England determined that people fully vaccinated with Pfizer-BioNTech and AstraZeneca vaccines were 88% and 60% effective against symptomatic cases of Delta, respectively.
But research found that people partially vaccinated with a single injection had less protection against the variant, with both vaccines being 33% effective against symptomatic illnesses.
Based on this study, David Holtgrave, dean of the University of Albany School of Public Health, appealed to Biden in a CNN Editorial refocus its goal of getting a dose of at least 70 percent adults by July 4 and instead set a goal for those fully immunized.
“We urgently need to pivot our political, programmatic and communications efforts to address the new challenges now posed by the Covid-19 Delta variant before it becomes even more prevalent,” he wrote. ” There’s no time to lose. “
Andrew Pekosz, professor of molecular microbiology and immunology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, said that with the US vaccine stock no longer limited, authorities should prioritize second doses.
“It’s clear now that there is really a way to go forward, and that is to get the double dose as effectively as possible,” he said.
Another area of concern is that the UK is seeing an increase in the number of children between the ages of 12 and 20 as most are not yet eligible to be vaccinated. Over the past week, 77 outbreaks have been documented in UK educational institutions.
In the United States, anyone 12 years of age and older is allowed to be vaccinated. Biden cited the spread of the Delta strain in a call for young people to get vaccinated, tweeter, “If you’re young and haven’t gotten your chance yet, now is the time. “
Pekosz of Johns Hopkins University said it would be important to monitor the spread of the Delta variant in children; children under 12 are not yet eligible for the vaccine but are expected to return to class this fall.
“If it turns out that this virus can infect children more effectively, then that would really make protecting these populations a priority from a government perspective,” he said.
Christina Ramirez, professor of biostatistics at UCLA’s Fielding School of Public Health, called for more sequencing to get better data on which variants spread, hot spots and strains that can thwart vaccines.
To prevent the emergence of a vaccine-resistant variant, she suggested sending doses globally to countries experiencing outbreaks.
“Our best defense is to really vaccinate the places that are experiencing uncontrolled epidemics, because that’s where our next variant will come from,” she said.