The Delta coronavirus variant—the most speedy and efficient strain yet—is poised to “pick off” the most vulnerable as it quickly becomes dominant worldwide, WHO warned yesterday, CNBC reports.
Studies estimate it is ~60% more transmissible than the previously dominant strain, Alpha, which was already more contagious than the original strain that started the pandemic.
Now present in 92 countries and dominant in the UK, Delta accounts for at least 10% of US cases and will likely become dominant within weeks, a new analysisfound, NPR reports.
Reassuring: Real-world studies have shown that vaccines are effective against Delta in preventing hospitalization, Al Jazeera reports.
The best defense against the variants remains unchanged: Getting those vaccines to the most vulnerable worldwide.
The problem: “[U]nfortunately we don’t yet have the vaccines in the right places to protect people’s lives,” said WHO’s COVID technical lead Maria Van Kerkhove.
Even as donated doses flow into the COVAX initiative, it remains “a catastrophic moral failure at a global level” that countries have not made it a priority, said WHO emergencies chief Mike Ryan.