The Delta coronavirus variant is expected to become the dominant strain in America, Director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Rochelle Walensky said.
The Delta variant, also known as B.1.617.2, is more transmissible than others, Xinhua news agency quoted Walensky as saying in an ABC News interview on Friday.
“As worrisome as this Delta strain is with regard to its hyper transmissibility, our vaccines work. Right now, they are working and they require actually two doses to be fully vaccinated, to work well.”
“So I would encourage all Americans, get your first shot, and when you’re due for your second, get your second shot and you’ll be protected against this Delta variant,” she added in the interview.
The CDC has elevated the Delta strain from “variant of interest” to “variant of concern”, which means the agency officially recognizes that it may carry a risk of more severe illness and transmissibility.
According to the CDC, the Delta variant accounts for up at least 10 per cent of all the confirmed coronavirus in the US.
On May 22, the variant had made up only 2.7 per cent of cases.
In addition to Delta, the CDC has noted five other variants of concern.
The latest CDC data estimates the Delta variant makes up 9.9% of reported U.S. Covid-19 cases, while Alpha stands at 65.5%. It is difficult to know the real prevalence of new coronavirus variations due to the relatively low amounts of genetic analysis being done on the virus.
Delta is already the dominant strain in the U.K., where a rise in new Covid-19 cases linked to the variant recently prompted Prime Minister Boris Johnson to postpone the planned lifting of public health restrictions by four weeks.
The US continues to be the worst-hit country with the world’s highest number of cases and deaths at 33,519,262 and 601,281, respectively, according to the Johns Hopkins University.