Why “participate”? The World Health Organization has introduced a new naming convention for the Greek alphabet for variants to simplify things and reduce the stigma of countries where variants occur.
Why do people get worried?
The variant has quickly spread to the UK, where it appears to be giving rise to coronavirus cases despite Britain’s successful response to the pandemic earlier this year. Dr. Anthony Fauci, President Biden̵
“It’s essentially taking over,” Fauci said at a White House coronavirus response team briefing. “We can not let that happen in the United States.”
The delta variant has also been discovered in 60 other countries, he said. And here in the United States, it already accounts for more than 6 percent of new cases.
Why is the delta variant a problem?
The Delta variant is thought to be 60 percent more transmissible than the B.1.1.7 variant (or alpha variant), which originated in the United Kingdom and has become dominant there and in the United States. Fauci also said that the delta variant “may be associated with an increased disease rate, such as hospitalization risk.”
“Delta is nastier,” William Hanage, an associate professor of epidemiology at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, said Tuesday in a series of tweets. He said that if unvaccinated people get it, “I’m sorry, but the virus is more likely to land you in the hospital.” Hanage said the data is not yet in the results for people hospitalized with the variant.
Am I getting protected by being vaccinated?
Yes, experts say. Fauci referred to data from the UK Public Health Agency showing that two doses of vaccines manufactured by Pfizer and AstraZeneca are 88 percent effective in preventing symptomatic disease caused by the delta variant.
The Pfizer vaccine is one of three administered in the United States. Fauci also told The Washington Post in an interview that the Pfizer data would be similar for the two-shot Moderna vaccine, which is also administered in the United States, which, like the Pfizer vaccine, uses mRNA technology.
Dr. Paul Sax, clinical director of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, said on Wednesday, “The evidence so far is that those who have received two shots of Pfizer (and thus Moderna) vaccines are likely to will be protected. ”
Fauci did not discuss during the briefing the possible effectiveness of the third U.S. vaccine, the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine. In an email, Sax said: “A theoretical concern is that those who have received the J&J vaccine may not be as protected as it already had a lower effect than the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines in clinical trials, and that was before the advent of this variant. ”
“We have to keep an eye on this closely,” he said.
If the vaccines work, what is the problem?
The problem is that not everyone has been vaccinated. And the arrival of the variant comes at a time when the number of vaccinations is declining nationally – and Biden’s goal of getting 70 percent of American adults vaccinated by July 4 seems harder to achieve.
The Delta variant “keeps an eye on”, said Dr. Shira Doron, an infectious disease doctor and hospital epidemiologist at Tufts Medical Center, on Wednesday in an email. “In pockets from the state and the country that are unvaccinated, it can definitely cause outbreaks.”
Hanage noted “inequalities in vaccination and access to vaccines” and warned: “Delta is already here. It will transmit in poorly vaccinated communities when it first comes to them. The infected are more likely to suffer from a serious illness than before.”
Fauci said the arrival of the delta variant was another “strong argument” for being vaccinated. And Biden himself tweeted Tuesday, “If you’re young and haven’t got your shot yet, it’s really time.”
People, the Delta variant – a highly contagious COVID-19 strain – is spreading rapidly among young people between the ages of 12 and 20 in the UK. If you’re young and have not got your shot yet, it’s really time. It’s the best way to protect yourself and those you love.
– President Biden (@POTUS) June 8, 2021
Material from Globe wire services was used in this report.
Martin Finucane can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.