Delta variant to become dominant strain in the United States, raising fear of ‘resurgence’

The Delta variant of the coronavirus first identified in India is said to become the dominant strain in the United States.

The Delta variant of the coronavirus first identified in India is said to become the dominant strain in the United States.

Infectious disease experts have warned of a ‘resurgence’ in Covid-19 later this year.

The Delta variant may already account for 1 in every 5 infections nationwide, experts say. It has already replaced the Alpha variant that was popular in the United Kingdom last year.

Speaking with CNN Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last week said, she anticipates Delta will become “the predominant variant in the months ahead”.

In the two weeks leading up to June 5, CDC estimates that Delta was responsible for nearly 10% of US infections. And now the nation’s top infectious disease physician, Dr. Anthony Fauci, says it accounts for roughly a fifth of cases.

“As of a couple of days ago, 20.6% of the isolates are Delta,” Fauci said at a White House briefing on Tuesday, referring to the two weeks leading up to June 19. This number has roughly doubled every two weeks, he added.

A more transmissible variant like Delta also raises the bar for what percent of a population has to be vaccinated “to reach this mythical herd immunity,” he explained.

“More worrisome is that we know that there are pockets of unvaccinated people and so I would be worried about Delta spreading very quickly in those pockets.”

The most recent model finds that a Delta-like variant that’s assumed to be 60% more transmissible than Alpha, coupled with 75% of eligible Americans getting vaccinated, can result in Covid-19 bouncing back during the fall and winter.

According to the model if 86% of eligible Americans get vaccinated 10,000 cumulative deaths could be averted by late November.

Currently, 62.5% of Americans 12 and up have gotten at least one dose of a vaccine, according to CDC. At the current pace, the country would hit 75% in September and 86% in November. However, the pace of vaccination has slowed in recent weeks.

Research on Delta in the UK has shown high levels of protection from two doses of the vaccines used there, with effectiveness against hospitalization exceeding 90% for both Delta and Alpha.

Polls such as the Kaiser Family Foundation’s have shown that about 1 in 5 adults say they won’t get vaccinated, or will only do so if required. But that number is higher among certain groups like Republicans, White evangelical Christians, younger age groups and people who live in rural areas.