The “delta” mutant spreads about 55 percent faster than the “alpha” strain of the Corona virus that first appeared in the United Kingdom late last year, according to the World Health Organization, and this strain spreads about 50 percent faster than the version that began infecting people in late 2019.
“We should think of the delta mutant as the 2020 version of a revitalized COVID-19,” Andy Slavett, a former senior adviser to US President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 response team, told CNN last week.
Here’s what else you need to know about the delta mutator, including why it’s spreading so quickly.
It was first identified in India
The “Delta” strain first appeared in India in December 2020, and quickly became the dominant mutant of the Corona virus, overwhelming the country’s healthcare system.
Soon after, the mutated virus was identified in the United Kingdom.
“This is the most contagious version of the virus we’ve seen throughout the entire pandemic,” said Ashish Jha, dean of the Brown University School of Public Health. “It’s really very contagious.”
Now, the “Delta” mutant has spread to all 50 states of the United States
The first case of the “delta” mutant was identified in the United States last March, and by early July, it accounted for more than half of the cases that were tested for “Covid-19” in the country.
The delta mutant now accounts for 83% of coronavirus cases in the United States, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“This is a dramatic increase, up from 50% since the week of July 3,” CDC Director Rochelle Walinsky said at a Senate committee hearing on Tuesday.
The “delta” mutation has been found in all 50 US states, and this follows a rise in cases, mainly among non-immunized people in the country.
The average daily new cases this week are up 55 percent from last week, with cases up in 46 states as of Tuesday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
Hospital admissions have increased by 52% in the past 14 days.
The strain continues to spread rapidly
So, how does the virus spread so quickly? One study suggests that the delta mutant may be transmitted faster than other strains because it makes more copies of itself in our bodies at a faster rate.
When scientists in China compared dozens of delta cases with strains that occurred early in the pandemic, they found that patients with delta had a viral load 1,260 times higher.
“There are a lot of viruses around you, and people who have an infection, they carry a high amount of the virus, and the infection is transmitted in short periods of time, five minutes, seven minutes, and you don’t have to be six feet away,” Jha explained.
“For unvaccinated people, they are infected through exposure for a much shorter period of time,” Jha added.
Vaccines available in the United States have proven effective against the “delta” mutant. Although there have been cases of vaccine breakthroughs, people who are fully vaccinated rarely become severely ill.
But less than half of the US population is fully vaccinated, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which warns of an “unvaccinated pandemic”.
US Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy said: “If you did not receive the vaccine, you are at great risk now and you must adhere to the procedures if you did not receive the vaccine, such as wearing a mask, social distancing, and avoiding indoor gatherings.”
Walinsky indicated last week that more than 97% of people who are hospitalized due to “Covid-19” are unvaccinated.
On Sunday, Murthy noted that 99.5% of deaths were among the unvaccinated, noting that vaccinating people as quickly as possible “is the fastest and most effective way out of this pandemic.”