According to an internal document from the CDC, the delta variant is as contagious as chickenpox and more transmissible than the Ebola virus.
The Delta coronavirus variant, first discovered in India, now accounts for the majority of cases in the US and the UK. It has spread to more than 130 countries, giving rise to a new wave on infections worldwide. Although the majority of cases have occurred among unvaccinated individuals, vaccinated people are also getting infected. Thus, leading the CDC to update its mask guidelines. Now a new piece of evidence suggests that the delta variant might be more contagious and cause a more severe illness than all other coronavirus variants.
According to the Washington Post, a leaked internal CDC document has brought to light new information about the delta variant. The document is a slide presentation containing unpublished data from studies. It suggests that vaccinated individuals infected with delta variant are just as likely to spread the virus as unvaccinated people. Moreover, the document highlighted an increased risk of hospitalizations and deaths among older age groups infected with the variant, regardless of their vaccination status.
In an interview with CNN, CDC director, Rochelle Walensky confirmed the authenticity of the document. The CDC is expected to publish the full data on Friday.
‘The War Has Changed’
The document further highlighted the variant’s infectivity. This is represented by R0 – an estimate of how many people an infected person can pass the virus to. Initially, researchers estimated the coronavirus to have an R0 of around 2 or 3. However, new data suggests that the delta variant is up to four times more transmissible than the original strain. This means that a person infected with the variant can infect eight to nine people on average. Thus, making it as transmissible as chickenpox.
Although vaccinated individuals can also shed the virus at a similar rate as unvaccinated people, the document highlights vaccination as the best defense against the disease. Despite vaccine efficacy falling against the delta variant, current vaccines have demonstrated a ten-fold reduction in severe illness. And a three-fold reduction in death among vaccinated people infected with the variant.
The leaked document has surely set out alarming information about the delta variant. Moreover, there is a chance of vaccine hesitancy among people due to the reports of breakthrough infections among vaccinated individuals. Therefore, the document suggests a new communication strategy and ‘acknowledge the war has changed’.
Source: The Washington Post