The alarm bells about the variant – now the most dominant in the United States – was sounded in an internal Center for Disease Control and Prevention slide presentation obtained by The Washington Post.
The information – which is expected to be officially released on Friday – was behind the CDC’s controversial decision to change its recommendations for those vaccinated, including encouraging them to wear masks indoors in areas with low rates of infection. vaccination.
The Delta variant, first discovered in India, was already raising serious concerns amid reports that it was much more contagious and dangerous than other strains. But the latest research has required drastic action, the CDC documents say.
“I finished reading it much more concerned than I started,” Robert Wachter, chairman of the department of medicine at the University of California at San Francisco, told the DC newspaper.
One of the CDC’s slides estimates that there are 35,000 symptomatic infections per week among 162 million Americans vaccinated, according to the report.
“While this is rare, we believe that on an individual level, people vaccinated can spread the virus, which is why we have updated our recommendation,” an unnamed federal health official told the newspaper.
The data will be released in part to justify the change in recommendations, and also to further encourage unvaccinated people to get vaccinated.
“Waiting even days to release the data could lead to unnecessary suffering and as public health professionals we cannot accept that,” the source told the Washington Post.