People wearing masks outside are seen at a Covid-19 vaccination site in Los Angeles, California, July 6, 2021.
Frédéric J. Brown | AFP | Getty Images
The highly transmissible delta variant is now the dominant coronavirus strain in the United States, overtaking the alpha variant first found in the United Kingdom, according to Covid-19 modeling data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Delta, the variant first found in India which is now in at least 104 countries, accounted for 51.7% of new Covid cases in the United States in the two weeks ended July 3, according to recently. estimates updated by the CDC. Meanwhile, the proportion of new cases caused by alpha was only 28.7% over the same period, according to the US agency.
In recent weeks, U.S. health officials have warned that the delta is on its way to becoming the dominant variant in the United States, as its prevalence in the country doubles every two weeks or so. On June 22, just over two weeks ago, White House chief medical adviser Dr Anthony Fauci said the delta accounted for about 20% of all new cases in the United States.
The World Health Organization, which has called the delta the “fastest and fittest” variant to date, expects it to become the dominant form of the disease globally. The delta is estimated to be around 55% more transmissible than the alpha variant, according to a WHO report.
President Joe biden Tuesday again urged all eligible Americans to get vaccinated against Covid, emphasizing the importance of being protected from the delta.
Although the United States is on track to hit 160 million fully vaccinated people in the coming days, Biden said, millions of people still remain unvaccinated against Covid, “and because of that, their communities are in danger, their friends are in danger, the people they care about. Are at risk. “
“It’s of even greater concern because of the delta variant,” the president said.
There are still about 1,000 counties in the United States with less than 30% immunization coverage, CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said last week. The counties are primarily located in the Southeast and Midwest, and the agency is already seeing increased disease rates in those locations due to the spread of the delta variant, she said.
Scientists and other health experts fear the variant may cause the number of new cases to spike this fall, hitting those unvaccinated hardest, unless states can vaccinate more people.
“I think there are two Americas,” said Dr. Paul Offit, a pediatrician and vaccine advocate who has served on advisory committees for the CDC and the Food and Drug Administration. “There is vaccinated America and unvaccinated America and I think unvaccinated America is about to pay the price for it.”
The White House announced last week that it was deploying Covid-19 response teams across the country focused on tackling the variant. The teams, made up of officials from the CDC and other federal agencies, will work with communities at high risk for an outbreak.