COVID Delta variant sparks major concerns in US

Published: Jun. 9, 2021 at 12:36 PM AKDT
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(CNN) – Top health experts warn about a new COVID-19 variant first discovered in India.

The Delta variant appears to be more contagious and may cause severe disease compared to other strains.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, said the new variant is a threat to America’s progress against the pandemic.

“We cannot declare victory prematurely,” he warned.

The Delta variant may be more contagious, cause more severe disease and spread in younger patients.

Fauci said it could spell trouble for the United States if it becomes the dominant strain.

“We don’t want to let happen in the U.S., what is happening currently in the UK,” Fauci said.

Right now, 6% of new COVID infections in the United States are the Delta variant.

Still, the country is making big strides against the pandemic.

Average daily cases are near a 14-month low, and more than half of eligible Americans are fully vaccinated.

But health experts warn we’re not in the clear.

“The Delta variant really is a double threat because it is both more infectious and it can evade our immune responses,” said Dr. Celine Gounder, an infectious disease specialist and epidemiologist.

A slow-down in the rate of vaccinations leaves unvaccinated Americans vulnerable to variants.

“The pandemic is definitely not over for those who are not vaccinated,” Gounder said.

While the variant is highly susceptible to two-dose vaccines, a single dose drops their effectiveness to only 33% against symptomatic disease from the Delta variant, according to the UK Public Health Agency.

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