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The Delta variant, which was first detected in India, now accounts for more than 6% of all infections in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And this highly transmissible variant may be responsible for over 18% of cases in some western states.
The variant, also known as B.1.617.2, is spreading rapidly in the UK and quickly became the dominant strain there, responsible for over 60% of infections and causing flare-ups in parts of England .
“We cannot let this happen in the United States,” says Dr Anthony Fauci.
Speaking at a COVID White House briefing on Tuesday, Fauci warned that the Delta variant could be associated with more serious illness and a higher risk of hospitalization.
The good news is that vaccines seem to be able to protect people against the Delta variant. A new study from Public Health England has shown that two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine were 88% effective against symptomatic Delta variant disease versus 93% effective against Alpha variant, the variant first detected in the UK -United. Efficacy decreased to 33% after a single dose.
Fauci urged anyone who received the first dose of Pfizer or Moderna vaccines to be sure to sign up for a second. “And for those who still haven’t been vaccinated, please get vaccinated,” he said.
He says vaccination is the best way to protect yourself and prevent this variant from spreading and becoming dominant in the United States.