The Delta variant is speeding past sluggish global vaccination efforts, likely bringing a brutal summer of infections across dozens of countries–-even in some nations with plentiful vaccine stocks.
The variant, which first emerged in India, has now spread to 80 countries, the WHO announced yesterday, The Washington Post reports.
Vaccine divide: Delta, which is 60% more transmissible than the Alpha variant first detected in the UK, is set to ravage Asia, South America, and Africa (see below) while the US and Europe “vaccinate their way out of the Covid crisis,”tweeted Madhu Pai.
Vaccine fail: While the 2-dose mRNA vaccine regimens seem to protect against Delta, more than 350 Sinovac-vaccinated health workers in Indonesia have tested positive, Reuters reports. Most had no symptoms, but dozens had to be hospitalized. The central Java outbreak is thought to be driven by Delta.
Future shock: Delta is surging in the US—it now makes up 10% of cases in the US. Last week, that figure was 6%, CNBC reports.
Ugh. Meet Lambda: WHO added a new variant—Lambda, from South America—to its variants of interest list. Its numerous spike protein mutations may impact transmissibility but more research is needed.
The Quote: “If you’re living in a part of the country where there’s a low degree of vaccination or you yourself are not vaccinated, you’re clearly vulnerable because this is basically covid-19 on steroids,” Andy Slavitt, a former Biden COVID-19 adviser, told the Post.