First identified in India, the highly transmissible Delta COVID-19 variant (also known as B.1.617.2) spread very rapidly in the U.K. and become its dominant strain. China has also been battling the variant in the southern Chinese province Guangdong. In the U.S., the Delta variant accounts for more than 6% of COVID-19 cases and health officials believe it to have potential of spreading in the U.S. if more people do not vaccinate.
WBRC journalist Chasity Maxie sat down with CDC director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, for an interview regarding the variant. Dr. Walensky expressed the CDC’s concern that the variant may continue to spread and become dominant in the U.S. as well: “We’re concerned because it looks like it is more transmissible than some of the other variants that we’ve seen.” While the current vaccines being distributed and administered across the U.S. offer a good amount of protection, Dr. Walensky noted that there still stands potential for that to change: “The protection rates are around 88%. So, still they’re working quite well, but what I would say is we worry, if there’s circulating virus, that these variants could potentially mutate again and get us out of the potential protection of these vaccines, which is why we want to decrease the amount of virus by getting people vaccinated,” Dr. Walensky said.
NIAID Director and president Chief Medical Advisor Dr. Fauci also spoke of the variant during a White-House COVID-19 briefing. Per an NPR article covering the briefing, Dr. Fauci urged everyone who has received the first dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines to make sure to sign up for a second. “And for those who have still not been vaccinated yet, please get vaccinated,” he said.
The more people that vaccinate, the less the virus can spread to and mutate. It’s important to note that the CDC’s updated recommendations and guidelines are for the vaccinated. Those unvaccinated should continue to social distance and wear a mask, though we should all remain vigilant in preventing the spread of COVID-19.
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