Delta variant ‘greatest threat’ to USA’s Covid-19 efforts: Dr Fauci

The extremely contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus is the “greatest threat” to America’s try to eradicate the Covid-19 pandemic, White House Chief Medical Advisor Dr Anthony Fauci has warned.

Speaking at a White House briefing on Covid-19 on Tuesday, Fauci stated the variant, which was first recognized in India, now makes up greater than 20 per cent of all new circumstances within the US, a major improve from almost 10 per cent two weeks in the past.

“Similar to the situation in the UK, the Delta variant is currently the greatest threat in the US to our attempt to eliminate Covid-19,” Fauci told reporters during a virtual news conference here.

However, the “good news” is that the US vaccines are effective against the Delta variant, said Fauci, the head of the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).

“Conclusion, we have the tools, so let’s use them and crush the outbreak,” he asserted.

ALSO READ: Rise in Delta variant cases worry UK residents, experts hopeful of AstraZeneca vaccine

The Delta variant recently became the dominant strain in the UK, surpassing the Alpha variant first discovered in the country. The strain makes up more than 90 per cent of new cases and delayed the UK’s scheduled reopening.

The transmissibility of Delta variant is unquestionably greater than the wild type SARS-CoV2 as well as the Alpha variant, Fauci said, adding that it is associated with increased disease severity as reflected by hospitalisation risk compared to the Alpha variant.

The Imperial College of London did a study in over 100,000 homes and found that youth were driving the UK’s surge with a five-fold higher positivity among children aged 5-12 and young adults 18-24 years versus people older than 65 years old, he said.

“Look at what is occurring within the United States. We have seen, as was the case with B.1.1.7, we appear to be following the sample with the Delta variant with a doubling time of about two weeks for those who look from May 8 with 1.2 to 2.7 to 9.9 and as of a few days in the past 20.6 per cent of the isolates are Delta,” Fauci stated.

He stated the United States has instruments to deal with the problem.

“The effectiveness of the vaccines, in this case, two weeks after the second dose of Pfizer BioNTech with 88 per cent effective against the Delta and 93 per cent effective against the Alpha when you are dealing with symptomatic disease,” he stated.

Rochelle Paula Walensky, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, stated that CDC continues to observe the prevalence of the Delta variant of Covid-19.

In the final two weeks, the prevalence of circumstances ensuing from the Delta variant has doubled to simply over 20 per cent. This variant represents almost half of all infections, she stated.

“This is concerning but expected knowing what we do about how efficiently this variant spreads and by what we saw in the United Kingdom with this variant.

“We know our vaccines work against this variant; however, this variant represents a set of mutations that could lead to future mutations that evade our vaccine, and that is why it is more important than ever to get vaccinated now to stop the chain of infection, the chain of mutations that could lead to a more dangerous variant,” Walensky stated.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has categorised the Delta, a extremely transmissible Covid-19 variant, as a “variant of concern.”

“The B.1.1.7 (Alpha), B.1.351 (Beta), P.1 (Gamma), B.1.427 (Epsilon), B.1.429 (Epsilon), and B.1.617.2 (Delta) variants circulating in the United States are classified as variants of concern. To date, no variants of high consequence have been identified in the United States,” the CDC stated in an announcement final week.

The World Health Organization categorised the Delta variant as a variant of concern on May 10.

ALSO READ: Fact Check: Facebook post gone viral falsely claiming top US physician Dr Fauci is sacked

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