- The Delta variant has become the dominant strain in the U.K., accounting for an estimated 60 percent of new cases.
With the U.S. scrambling to get more and more people across all 50 states vaccinated against the coronavirus, U.S., National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci pleaded with the public on June 8 to get vaccinated, saying the Delta variant (B.1.617.2) first identified in India — accounts for more than 6 percent of the sequenced viruses in the United States.
The variant has become the dominant strain in the U.K., accounting for an estimated 60 percent of new cases. It’s now more prevalent than the Alpha strain, formerly called the B.1.1.7 strain, which was first identified in the U.K., and transmission is peaking in people between the ages of 12 and 20, Dr. Fauci said at a White House press briefing, according to CNN. “In the U.K., the Delta variant is rapidly emerging as the dominant variant … It is replacing the B.1.1.7,” Fauci said at the press conference. “We cannot let that happen in the United States.”
First detected in October, the Delta variant has spread to at least 62 countries, the World Health Organization said last week. Fauci’s plea for Americans to get vaccinated against Covid-19 comes as vaccinations across the country have slowed, reported CNN, leaving unvaccinated Americans vulnerable to new variants and threatening the chances of reaching herd immunity.
Over the last week, the US averaged more than 1.07 million Covid-19 vaccine shots administered per day — well below the peak seven-day average of 3.38 million shots per day reached on April 13, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Roughly 53 percent of all U.S. adults are fully vaccinated, according to the CDC.
The Delta strain has a stranglehold on India, causing a spike in infections and deaths that has clogged hospital systems, as reported by CNBC. Fauci also said that the Delta variant is more contagious and may be associated with a higher risk of hospitalization than the original “wild type” Covid-19 strain.
“We continue to observe significantly increased transmissibility and a growing number of countries reporting outbreaks associated with this variant,” the WHO said of the Delta strain last week, as mentioned to CNBC, noting that further study was a high priority.
Studies also show that two doses of the Pfizer or AstraZeneca shots are effective against the Delta strain, according to the National Institute of Health, as reported by CNBC . Two doses of the Pfizer vaccine were shown to be 88 percent effective against the Delta variant, while two doses of the AstraZeneca shot were shown to be 60 percent effective against the strain, according to NIH data as reported by CNBC.
Fauci, as reported by CNBC, stressed the importance of getting two doses after NIH studies showed that, three weeks after being given, just one dose of either vaccine provided only 33% efficacy against the Delta variant. President Biden has set a goal of vaccinating 70 percent of American adults with at least one dose by the Fourth of July.