Delta variant is one of the most infectious respiratory diseases known, CDC director says

Rochelle Walensky, director of the CDC

Source: CDC | Youtube

The Delta-Covid variant is one of the most contagious respiratory diseases scientists have ever seen, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday.

The variant is highly contagious, mainly because people infected with the Delta strain can carry up to 1,000 times more virus in their nasal passages than those infected with the original strain, according to new data.

“The Delta variant is more aggressive and much more transmissible than previously circulating strains,” said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky reporters at a briefing Thursday. “It’s one of the most contagious respiratory viruses we know and that I’ve seen in my 20-year career.”

The Delta variant has spread rapidly in the US and currently accounts for more than 83% of the cases sequenced in the US, up from 50% in the week of July 3rd.

The seven-day average of new cases has increased by around 53% compared to the previous week and is currently 37,674 new cases per day. Hospital admissions are up 32% to about 3,500 per day from last week, and deaths are up 19% to about 240 per day over the same period.

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Graphic shows current data on Covid-19 in the USA.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

“This virus has no incentive to wear off and it remains on the lookout for the next person at risk to infect,” Walensky said.

The virus penetrates US counties with low vaccination rates, while counties with high vaccination rates have lower rates of new infections.

Three states, Florida, Texas and Missouri, with low vaccination rates account for 40% of all new cases nationwide, White House Covid Tsar Jeff Zients said. Florida alone accounted for one in five of all new cases in the United States for the second straight week.

In hospitals across the country, 97% of people admitted with Covid symptoms are unvaccinated, and 99.5% of all Covid deaths are also unvaccinated.

For the past week, the five states with the highest case numbers had higher rates of people getting re-vaccinated compared to the national average.

“We are at another pivotal moment in this pandemic as cases are picking up again and some hospitals are reaching capacity in some areas. We need to come together as a nation,” Walensky said.

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