The Truth About The Delta Variant

Hand with medical glove holding up a COVID-19 Delta variant sign.
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Health

The new Delta variant is the latest COVID-19 strain to sweep the world, and has already superseded the Alpha variant in the U.K. in the short amount of time since it has emerged.

While it originated in India, the Delta variant has been identified in the U.K. at a relatively early stage and, as such, the country is now being seen as something of a "test case" for what could happen in other countries, including the U.S.

Here's what we know about this mutated coronavirus strain so far and what we can expect in the immediate future.

Dominant Strain Worldwide

3D illustration of the Delta variant.
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Similar to other COVID-19 strains that have become globally dominant after hitting the U.K. first, the Delta variant is poised to become the dominant coronavirus strain worldwide, CNBC is reporting. With a much faster transmission rate than the original virus that emerged in China at the end of 2019, it had already spread to more than 80 countries in mid-June, and it keeps mutating.

The Delta variant is now responsible for 90 percent of coronavirus infections in the U.K. and currently accounts for 20 percent of newly diagnosed cases in the U.S. -- a rapid increase since mid-June, when it made up less than 10 percent of all cases, as reported by The Inquisitr at the time.

Delta Is 'Greatest Threat In The US,' Says Fauci

Image of a COVID-19 hospital ward.
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In light of what's happening in the U.K., where this new, highly contagious strain is wreaking havoc despite the country's advanced vaccination rate, White House chief medical advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci has warned that the Delta variant will follow "the same pattern" in the U.S. as well, taking over as the dominant strain in a matter of weeks.

During a virtual news conference at the White House on June 22, Fauci said the variant was the "greatest threat" to America's attempt to eradicate the coronavirus pandemic.

"Similar to the situation in the U.K., the Delta variant is currently the greatest threat in the U.S. to our attempt to eliminate Covid-19."

US Is Ramping Up Vaccinations

Photo of a health worker inside a COVID-19 vaccination center.
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As the British government is speeding up vaccinations to counter the rise of infections, the U.S. is preparing to follow suit. Since young people and unvaccinated adults have been particularly susceptible to Delta in the U.K., leading to a rapid spread of the strain among these contingents, the country is now gearing up to inoculate people aged 18 and over.

Likewise, a recent NBC report has indicated the variant is likely to hit hard those parts of the U.S. where the immunization program has been slowed down or delayed. Australia is also facing an outbreak of the Delta strain and has already instituted a two-week lockdown in response to the fast rate of infection.

Two Doses Of Vaccine 'Highly Effective' Against Delta Strain

Close-up image of a COVID-19 vaccine.
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The ramping up of vaccinations comes after a new analysis from Public Health England has shown that two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech or the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective against hospitalization from the Delta variant. Previous research indicated that a single dose of vaccine was less effective against Delta compared to Alpha.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 57.4 percent of the U.S. population over 18 has received both doses of the vaccine so far, while 66.5 percent has been inoculated with one dose. Although the Biden administration's goal to have 70 percent of Americans vaccinated by The Fourth Of July will not be achieved in the allotted time, health officials are making strides to reach those numbers as fast as possible.

“We think it’ll take a few extra weeks to get to 70% of all adults with at least one shot with the 18- to 26-year-olds factored in,” House Covid czar Jeff Zients said in a statement.