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Why is the world afraid of the Delta variant of the coronavirus? Some answers

The delta variant The coronavirus is the most contagious mutation so far in the pandemic, but vaccines against the virus that causes Covid-19 still provide strong protection against it.

Almost all hospitalizations and deaths from Covid-19 that occur today, in countries around the world, were of unvaccinated people.

However, recent research indicates that those vaccinated can be infected with the delta variant. And while they are unlikely to get seriously ill, they can spread it to other people.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) mentioned the increased circulation of the delta variant by asking fully vaccinated people to return to wearing a chinstrap indoors in areas of the country where there is currently a high rate of infections.

The new guideline helps protect those who are not vaccinated, including children and others who are at high risk of serious illness if they become infected.

Scientists predicted that some vaccinated people would get sick from Covid-19, but developing mild or no symptoms, since vaccines were designed to prevent vaccinated people from getting seriously ill. But they do not prevent contracting the virus.

The CDC no longer publicly counts those vaccinated cases, but a Kaiser Family Foundation analysis of data from states that do count found that they constitute a small portion of all Covid-19 infections.

It is not yet clear whether the delta variant is capable of making people sicker, but experts say it spreads more easily due to mutations that make it adhere better to cells in the human body.

New mutations?

The variant, first detected in India, quickly became the dominant mutation worldwide, including the United States.

Viruses are constantly mutating and most changes are not worrisome, but scientists worry that uncontrolled spread could create more mutations and produce a variant that is even more contagious, causing people to become more seriously ill, or that may evade the protection provided by current vaccines.

That is why experts say it is important that vaccines are accessible globally and stress the importance of completing the vaccination schedule.

More hospitalizations in the United States

Optimism about the effectiveness of vaccines gave rise to alarm in the United States, which is seeing hospitalizations return to last winter’s levels due to the delta variant expansion and the stagnation of the immunization campaign against covid-19.

This Tuesday there were 55,767 patients hospitalized for the disease in US centers, after the 50,000 barrier was exceeded on Monday, figures not seen since the end of last February, according to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

In fact, the numbers of the last two days are triple those of a month ago, when there were some 16,000 covid-19 patients admitted to health centers in the United States.

The data for Monday and Tuesday assume an occupation of more than 7.7% of the total hospital beds in the country, although the situation is uneven depending on the state.

According to HHS, the US location with the highest occupancy rate is Florida, the current epicenter of the country’s pandemic, where more than 25% of the beds are occupied by covid-19 patients.

In fact, this Tuesday a new record was broken in Florida with 11,515 people hospitalized, of which 2,400 are in intensive care.

Although the outlook is dramatic in that state, the governor, Republican Ron DeSantis, tried on Tuesday to minimize the rebound in the pandemic and reiterated that will not take measures such as ordering the use of masks.

Vaccination stops

Experts attribute this new wave of the pandemic in the US to the expansion of the delta variant, the stagnation of vaccination and the reluctance in some areas to adopt preventive measures like the use of chinstraps, which became politicized in the country.

So far, at least one dose of the covid vaccine has been applied to more than 191.8 million people in the United States, that is, 57.8% of the population, compared to 164.9 million -the 49.7% – who received the complete scheme.

Monday, The United States reached 70% of its adult population with at least one dose of the vaccine, one month after President Joe Biden’s target date.

That is precisely why the White House defends that “the time has come” to extend the obligations to get vaccinated, something that the federal government has already done with its employees and is considering applying it to the Armed Forces as well.

Source: AP and EFE



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