CDC: Cases of highly contagious Covid-19 variant are rapidly increasing in US

The delta variant of the novel coronavirus now accounts for 10% of all new COVID-19 cases in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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The rising numbers of those infected with the particularly contagious variant has earned it the designation of a “variant of concern.”

The CDC defines a variant of concern as a “variant for which there is evidence of an increase in transmissibility, more severe disease (e.g., increased hospitalizations or deaths), significant reduction in neutralization by antibodies generated during previous infection or vaccination, reduced effectiveness of treatments or vaccines, or diagnostic detection failures.”

The CDC made the designation about the variant first detected in India on Monday

Health officials have stressed the need to be fully vaccinated as the variant infects communities around the country.

“It’s doubling every two weeks,” former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb said of the variant in an appearance on “Face the Nation.”

“And I think the risk is really that this could spike a new epidemic heading into the fall,” Gottlieb said.

The vaccines available in the U.S. are effective against the delta variant, as well as other circulating variants, according to the CDC.

Public Health England reported Monday that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is 96% effective at preventing hospitalization from the delta variant.

Other research that has yet to be peer-reviewed, has shown the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines to be 88% effective with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine being less effective against the delta variant.

To be considered fully vaccinated, two doses are required for both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine requires only one shot.

The majority of people being admitted to hospitals with COVID-19 have not been fully vaccinated, according to a story from NBC News.

“I haven’t had anyone that’s been fully vaccinated become critically ill,” Tulane University Medical Center’s Dr. Josh Denson told NBC.

“None of our ICU patients has been vaccinated,” Dr. Ken Lyn-Kew, a pulmonologist who works at Denver’s National Jewish Health, said.

As of Wednesday, over 54% of adults in the U.S. had been fully vaccinated. Almost 65% had received at least one dose.