World Indian Delta variant could create two Americas, experts warn
Delta variant 60% more transmissible than Alpha and more vaccine resistant
The Delta (Indian) variant is about 60% more transmissible than the Alpha (Kent) variant and vaccines are less effective against it, Public Health England has said. More than 90% of new COVID-19 cases in the UK are now the Delta variant.The variant, first identified in India, has taken over from the Alpha variant as the most dominant in the UK.Since last week, the number of Delta variant cases across the UK has increased by 243% to 42,323.New PHE research suggests the Delta variant is associated with an approximately 60% increased risk of household transmission compared with the Alpha variant.
Experts have warned that geographic differences in vaccination rates could divide the country into 'two Americas' if the Delta variant takes hold in areas with low vaccine coverage.
As of Friday, the Delta variant first identified inaccounted for 10 percent of new U.S. cases, but it is highly contagious, and the expects it to dominate in a matter of weeks.
Strong regional variations in vaccination coverage have emerged after doses were made available to all adults, with liberal states in the Northeast vaccinated at nearly double the rate of conservative strongholds in the Deep South.
Is a Deadly Surge of the Delta Variant Headed for the U.S.?
The so-called Delta variant of the coronavirus, which was first detected in India and may carry double the risk of hospitalization compared to the Alpha—or U.K. strain—can cause unusual symptoms. Some people have reported hearing loss. Others, severe gastric distress. One Mumbai cardiologist reportedly treated two COVID patients with blood clots so severe, they required amputations of fingers or feet. “Last year, we thought we had learned about our new enemy, but it changed,” Abdul Ghafur, an infectious disease physician at the Apollo Hospital in Chennai, India, told Bloomberg. “This virus has become so, so unpredictable.
'I call it two COVID nations,' Peter Hotez, a vaccine researcher at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, told. 'Somehow we have to break this idea that allegiance to conservatism and the has to do with not getting vaccinated.'
The Delta variant led to havoc in the UK, now accounting for nearly 100 percent of all cases and delaying the end of lockdown restrictions by four weeks.
British data indicate that the Delta variant is between 40 percent and 60 percent more transmissible than the UK Alpha variant, which is now the dominant strain in the U.S.
How COVID vaccines work against the Delta variant
Here is what you need to know about the efficacy of coronavirus vaccines against the variant first identified in India.However, there is evidence that the available jabs retain important effectiveness against it after two doses.
A troubling study of cases in Scotland published this week also suggests Delta is more deadly, finding that the risk of hospital admission with the Delta variant was roughly doubled compared to people infected with the Alpha variant.
On Friday, President Joe Biden issued a stark warning about the Delta variant as it became clear the country will fall short of his goal of 70 percent vaccination by July 4.
'The best way to protect yourself against these variants is to get vaccinated,' the president declared.
'The truth is that deaths and hospitalizations are drastically down in places where people are getting vaccinated,' he added.
‘It will get very bad’: Experts warn on Indonesia COVID surge
Government is blaming the Delta variant for latest surge in cases, but experts say policy failures are to blame.“The spread of this virus variant is very fast,” Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin admitted during an online seminar on Sunday, adding that the variant had got a foothold in Indonesia through its ports.
Video: A look at the surge of the Delta variant (Sky News)
'But unfortunately, cases and hospitalizations are not going down in many places in the lower-vaccination-rate states. They're actually going up in some places.'
Nationally, about 45 percent of the nation's adult population is fully vaccinated, with liberal Vermont, Maine and Massachusetts leading the way with at least 60 percent full vaccination.
On the other end of the spectrum, Louisiana, Tennessee and Georgia have the lowest vaccination rates, with less than 35 percent of their residents fully vaccination.
Persistent differences in attitudes towards vaccination remain between Democrats and Republicans.
The latestshow that 80 percent of Democrats say that they have already gotten the vaccine or want to as soon as possible, compared to 55 percent of Republicans.
On Friday, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says she expects the Delta variant to become dominant in the U.S. within eight weeks.
'Yes, I think that's going to be the case,' Dr Rochelle Walensky said on ABC's Good Morning America when asked if she thinks the mutant strain will become dominant.
'Essentially what happens is, when these viruses mutate, they do so with some advantage to the virus. In this case, it's more transmissible.'
She added that when it comes to the Alpha 'Kent' variant that originated in the UK, it only took one or two months to make up the majority of U.S. infections.
'I anticipate that's what going to happen with the Delta strain here,' Walensky said.
Delta variant threatens new pandemic challenge .
The highly-contagious Delta variant is causing a surge in new Covid-19 cases even in countries with high vaccination rates and experts warn that inoculation campaigns are in a race against time to contain it. For the moment the pandemic is still slowing down with the World Health Organization (WHO) reporting the lowest number of new cases worldwide since February and decreasing deaths attributed to the coronavirus. But concerns are growing about the fast-spreading variant, prompting new restrictions in countries that had previously managed to control their epidemics.Cases are on the rise in Russia, Australia, Israel and across parts of Africa, in part due to Delta.