WASHINGTON — Anthony Fauci, White House chief medical adviser, said on June 30 that the highly contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus is the greatest threat to the United States’ attempt to eradicate Covid-19.
The head of the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said he is “quite concerned” about the Delta variant in the US. He said that the delta variant could spread much more efficiently and cause more severe disease.
“The Delta variant has the capability of spreading much more efficiently from person to person,” said Fauci. “It also can cause more severe disease. So, two things about it are troublesome.”
He said that Covid-19 vaccines have shown to be very effective against the strain and urged those who have yet to be vaccinated to do so.
“We are asking people, almost pleading with people, if you are not vaccinated, please get vaccinated,” he said.
The Delta variant, first identified in India, has also been identified in at least 85 countries. It now accounts for one in five infections in the US.
As per the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the ‘variant of concern’ — B.1.617.2 — accounts for more than one-fourth of the total active COVID-19 cases in the country and has reached nearly every state.
The US has administered at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine to over 53 percent of its population and aims to achieve herd immunity through vaccination as soon as possible.
Jen Psaki, a White House spokeswoman, said that the United States is on track to have 70 percent vaccinated in the US “in a couple of weeks.”
Psaki stressed that the Delta variant is “is not discriminating by age.” Vaccines approved in the US are effective for the Delta variant, but “if you are not vaccinated, you are not safe or protected.”
“We know that our vaccines that have been approved in the United States are effective in protecting Americans from the Delta variant,” she said.
“It is important for people to understand that. So if you have been vaccinated, the message we are conveying is: You’re safe.”
The Pfizer-BioNTech shot showed to be 88 percent effective against symptomatic disease and 96 percent effective against hospitalization.
Trends underscore that the Delta Variant is surging almost 50 percent of all Covid-19. As a result, the question of mask-wearing has come back.
Los Angeles County health officials recommend that even fully vaccinated people should continue to wear masks indoors in public as a precaution due to the rise of the highly transmissible Delta variant of the virus.
The World Health Organization released similar recommendations earlier this week, advising everyone, regardless of vaccination status, to continue wearing masks.
“This particular Delta variant is faster, it is fitter, it will pick off the more vulnerable more efficiently than previous variants,” said Michael Ryan, executive director of the WHO’s Health Emergencies Program.”
(With inputs from ANI)
(Edited by Amrita Das and Saptak Datta)
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