Variable delta and low vaccine rates can cause a problem

on many scales, The United States is doing relatively well against the epidemic Corona Virus. National numbers of cases, hospitalizations and deaths are all at their lowest levels since early last year. Several states have achieved their 70 percent adult target vaccination At least one dose, and many areas are easing or lifting health restrictions in response to suppressed levels of transmission.

But those hard-earned gains were accompanied by a grim event on Tuesday: The nationwide death toll reached 600,000. That’s roughly the population of Milwaukee or Baltimore. Experts express fears that the epidemic situation could take a turn for the worse in the United States once again.

The dangerous 1.617.2 variant of the coronavirus, first seen in India – now called delta by the World Health Organization – is spreading rapidly around the world, including in the United States. It is estimated that it is more contagious than anxiety Variant B.1.1.7 It was first seen in the UK. It is estimated that this variant, now called alpha, could transmit about 50 percent more than the original coronavirus that spread in Wuhan, China, at the beginning of 2020. It is estimated that infections are 50 to 60 percent more than alpha.

In the UK, infections with the delta variant started to appear at very low levels in early April and then rose rapidly. By early June, the delta variant accounted for more than 60 percent of cases.

Earlier this year, alpha overtook other versions of the virus to become the dominant strain in the United States. Now, experts expect Delta to take its place, just as it did in the UK. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Monday officially named Delta A “alternative to anxiety. “

Now, in the United States, [Delta accounts for] About 10 percent of infections. “It doubles every two weeks,” said Scott Gottlieb, a former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, Sunday day face the nation. “So it’s likely to become the dominant strain here in the US. It doesn’t mean we’re going to see a spike in infections, but it does mean that this will take over. And I think the risk is actually in the fall – that this could lead to a new pandemic Heading toward fall.”

Adding concern is new data suggesting that delta may also cause more severe disease — as well as spread to more people. Early results from Scotland indicate that infections with the delta variant were associated with nearly twice the risk of people being hospitalized with infection compared to infection with the alpha variant. The data was The two were published as correspondence in Lancet. Experts say they will need more data to confirm this risk.

The good news in all of this is that full vaccination appears to protect against deltas. At the end of May, researchers in Public Health England published data (not peer-reviewed) indicating that two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine were 88% effective in preventing cross-infection with a delta variantتغير. Meanwhile, data indicated that two doses of the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine were 60 percent effective. (In particular, it was only one injection of the two vaccines Not Preventive, offering only 33 percent efficacy against symptomatic delta infections. Experts emphasized the importance of not skipping the second dose.)

Data from Scotland On Monday it was similarly suggested that two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine were 79 percent effective against the delta variant, while two doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine were again 60 percent effective.

Also on Monday, PHE released another analysis (also not peer-reviewed) that found that two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine were 96% effective against hospitalizationTwo doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine were 92 percent effective against hospitalization.

“So we have the tools to control and overcome this,” Gottlieb noted.

But experts remain concerned. pace vaccination It has slowed significantly in the United States, and many states — especially in the South — are behind the goal of 70 percent of adults getting at least one vaccine. Low pockets of vaccination are raising concerns among experts, including Gottlieb, that cases could rise again as the delta continues to spread.

Peter Hotez, director of the Vaccine Development Center at Texas Children’s Hospital, echoed the same concern on Tuesday. He told CNN that “very worriedabout the delta variable. He stressed that now is a “tough time” to get a full vaccination – which takes five to six weeks – before the delta spreads further.

At a press briefing last week, chief infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci made a similar plea, noting the rapid spread of the delta variant in the UK. “We can’t let that happen in the USThis is a “strong argument…to get vaccinated,” he said.

This story originally appeared Ars Technica.

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