Delta variant now dominant in US, makes up over half of Covid-19 cases: CDC
The highly transmissible Delta variant of Covid-19 has become the dominant strain in the United States as it is rapidly spreading among unvaccinated individuals, according to new data released by US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The Biden administration has been counting on high vaccination coverage to restore normalcy by relaxing federal guidelines on coronavirus-induced restrictions but the spread of the Delta variant has caused concern to the authorities.
The new Covid-19 cases related to Delta variant accounts for more than 51% of Covid-19 infections in the country, as per the CDC. The ‘variant of concern’ B.1.617.2 was first detected in India and now accounts for more than 80% of new infections in several US states, including Missouri, Kansas and Iowa. In western US states like Utah and Colorado, the Delta variant is causing 74.3% of infections.
The United States has been administering mRNA vaccines developed by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna to reach the so-called herd immunity but vaccine hesitancy has emerged as a major roadblock in achieving the goal. Top US infectious disease expert Dr Anthony Fauci warned that the Delta variant poses a "significant threat" to unvaccinated people, saying the variant was not only more transmissible, but it can also cause more severe disease.
"If ever there was a reason to get vaccinated, this is it," Dr Anthony Fauci told CNN on Tuesday.
Texas A&M University virologist Benjamin Neuman said mRNA vaccines appear to provide protection against the Delta variant but a large number of unvaccinated individuals in the state remain a concern. The low percentage of vaccination coverage in Texas has made it difficult for experts to predict the threat of the Delta variant.
“It really depends on what's out there, and at the moment we’re not sure. At best you might be able to get away with it, at worst it could be really bad. I think we just don’t know,” Neuman said.