The highly contagious delta variant of the coronavirus is spreading like wildfire across the US, raising further concern for areas with low vaccination rates and renewed scrutiny of federal mask guidance.
Delta variant, first identified in India, now accounts for more than 20 percent of cases in the US, with some estimates rising to at least 37 percent in recent days. The variant is quickly overtaking the previous winning variant in the US, Alpha, which was first identified in the UK and dominated the US in a matter of months last spring. Scientists estimate that the alpha variant is around 50 percent more infectious than the original SARS-CoV-2 virus that broke out in Wuhan, China.
Delta, on the other hand, is estimated to be 50 percent to 60 percent more expensive than Alpha. That is, it can be more than twice as helpful as the original virus.
The COVID-19 vaccines are, fortunately, still effective against the delta variant, but many experts are very worried about the risk of the variant being to areas with low vaccination rates. Already, some states with low vaccination rates and high transmission rates are seeing cases of delta transmission.
Nevada and Missouri, for example, have the nation’s highest rate of new cases per day (15 and 13.8 new cases per day per 100,000 people, respectively) and relatively low vaccination rates, with about 40 percent of their population fully immunized. Both states have some higher estimates for delta evolutionwith current estimates around 70 percent—although the numbers are still shaky, given data limitations.
In an interview with CNN on Tuesday, infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci expressed the concern, saying: “When you have such a low level of immunity based on a difference that has a high rate of transmission, what are you going to do?” see within unvaccinated areas—be it states, cities or counties—you’ll see these individual blips and it looks like it’s going to be America two.”
Dr. Fauci previously called delta “the greatest danger in the US to our effort to eliminate COVID-19. “
But the unvaccinated are not the only people threatened by the delta’s frenetic spread. Some experts point out that, although vaccines are still very effective in preventing death and disease, they are not 100% effective overall. There is still a small chance that fully immunized people can become infected, and—although such infections may be asymptomatic or cause only mild disease—fully immunized people can still help spread the virus. spread much further.
This is creating a debate among experts on what precautions fully immunized people should take. Those at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention argue that the risk of transmission—to and from—fully immunized people is very low. As such, the agency continues to say that people who are fully immunized can shed their masks and walk among people. Other experts, including experts at the World Health Organization, are more cautious.
“We still live in a world that is partly vaccine, very susceptible, very vulnerable,” Bruce Aylward, senior adviser to the director-general of the World Health Organization, said in we press the weekly button. “So, what we are saying is: once you are fully vaccinated, continue to play safely, because you can end up as part of the transmission chain.”
Aylward and several other WHO experts reiterated their longstanding position that everyone—even those who are fully immunized—should continue to do everything they can to reduce transmission, especially as the delta variant continues to spread. .
“The delta variant is a dangerous virus,” WHO technical director on COVID-19, Maria Van Kerkhove, said in the conference. “It’s more portable than the alpha variant, which is very portable across Europe, across any country you enter. The delta variant is even more portable… Earth.” Van Kerkhove advises people to continue to use masks regularly, stay in open spaces, practice good hand hygiene and breathing techniques, continue to keep physical distance, and avoid crowds. “Please, do what you can to keep yourself safe,” he said.
Mariangela Simão, WHO’s assistant general of Access to Medicines and Health Products, emphasized the point further, saying: “This is very important: vaccination alone will not stop regional transmission, and we need to ensure that people follow everyone. health measures that Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove is talking (of) today.”
The re-emphasis on the mask and masks for fully immunized people re-examined the CDC’s stance, which changed abruptly in mid-June. The agency announced with little warning that people with full immunity can stop very far and sell their masks in all indoor and outdoor settings, filled or crowded. Exceptions include health care plans and mass transit.
Experts were quick to criticize the timing and manner of the announcement, saying the agency should have provided more warning to state and local health officials, and provided more nuanced recommendations for mask use in different settings. , such as retail stores. And some experts at the time argued that the CDC should have offered the margins. That is, they should have suggested cuts for when local immunity levels are high enough and/or when transmission rates are low enough that it should be safe to drop health measures.
As the New York Times notes, Saskatchewan, Canada, has such thresholds, including adjusting the level linked to vaccination rates. That “makes a lot more sense than just saying, ‘If you’re fully immunized, go ahead and take off your mask,'” psychologist Angela Rasmussen told the outlet.
Although the CDC has not made any move on its guidance, health officials in other countries and local US government officials have begun reimbursing masks and other measures. For example, Israel, one of the most immunized countries in the worldreturn the internal mask command this week. And on Monday, the Los Angeles Department of Public Health urged people to wear masks in indoor settings, regardless of vaccination status.
“Until we better understand how and to whom the delta difference is spreading, everyone should focus on maximum security with minimal disruption to the process as all businesses operate without other restrictions, such as physical abuse and power limitations,” the department wrote in a word.