The Delta variant spreads much faster, is more likely to infect those vaccinated, and could trigger more serious disease in the unvaccinated compared to all other known variants, according to an internal report compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Disease Prevention.
The document, a slide presentation prepared by officials from the US health protection agency. obtained by the Washington Post, cautioned that the Delta variant is as contagious as chickenpox, and argues that government officials must “acknowledge that the war has changed” given how dangerous the variant is.
Citing data from an outbreak in a Massachusetts county, the CDC paper suggested that infections in vaccinated people can produce viral loads similar to those who are unvaccinated and infected with the variant.
However, scientists acknowledge that the likelihood of vaccinated people spreading the virus, if infected, is much rarer compared to unvaccinated people.
The Delta variant is more transmissible than other viruses in the coronavirus family such as Mers and Sars, as well as Ebola and smallpox, the CDC filing said, adding that although vaccines prevent more than 90% of the serious illness, the dangerous characteristics of this variant. suggest that they may be relatively less effective in preventing infection or transmission.
“I think people should understand that we are not crying wolf here. This is serious, ”Rochelle Walensky, director of the CDC, told CNN. “It is one of the most communicable viruses that we know of. Measles, chicken pox, this … they’re all there. “
The report was leaked just days after the agency changed its guidance to recommend that even vaccinated people should wear masks in some indoor settings, regardless of their vaccination status, especially in areas of “substantial or high” virus transmission.
Later on Friday, the CDC released more details about the Massachusetts outbreak among vaccinated people who reported their decision to revise the mask guide, prompting a backlash from conservatives across the US.
It found that around the July 4 holiday on Cape Cod, an outbreak sickened 469 people, though most (74%) were vaccinated. Among the samples that could be sequenced, the CDC found that the vast majority had the Delta variant.
The data shared in the presentation suggested that vaccinated people who become infected with the Delta variant can shed as much virus as unvaccinated people, although he emphasized that vaccines prevent more than 90% of severe disease.
Dr Stephen Griffin, a virologist at the University of Leeds, emphasized that breakthrough infections are not common (1-2% according to the latest Public Health England abstract, although with different Delta symptoms this may be underestimated).
“However, it is concerning that when such infections occur, the titles [concentration of an antibody] in the respiratory tract they appear the same as during an unvaccinated infection … it appears that the aforementioned outbreaks are consistent with a high degree of infectious virus being produced, ”Griffin told The Guardian.
“However, we must remember, in the future, that we will see a higher proportion of [vaccinated people]become infected as coverage increases within the population, but the difference here is that Delta certainly seems to do this more frequently and with more potential for symptomatic infection compared to other variants. “
The CDC document also highlights “communication challenges” and says the agency must change its public message to emphasize vaccination as the best defense against the Delta variant.
The United States averages nearly 62,000 new Covid-19 infections a day, and the vast majority of those hospitalized and dying have not been vaccinated. Nationwide, 49.8% of Americans are fully vaccinated, according to the CDC.
On Thursday, Joe Biden described the increase as an “unvaccinated pandemic” and said that about 90 million Americans who are eligible to receive a vaccine have not yet received it.
“Masking is a defense against the spread of Covid-19, but make no mistake: vaccines are the best defense against a serious illness caused by Covid-19. The best defense, ”said the president.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism