United States

Delta strain spreads like chickenpox changing war on COVID, CDC docs say

18:36, 30 July 2021
Delta strain spreads like chickenpox changing war on COVID, CDC docs say Photo: NIAID

The delta variant of the coronavirus spreads as easily as chickenpox and appears to cause more severe illness, which makes health officials "acknowledge the 'war' has changed," an internal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention documents revealed, obtained by The Washington Post.

The recently became most dominant in the US and across the world and highly contagious variant can be spread by vaccinated people, and makes public health agency to persuade the public to embrace vaccination and prevention measures, including mask-wearing, the CDC slide presentation said.

According to the papers, Delta acts almost like a different novel virus, leaping from target to target more swiftly than Ebola or the common cold.

“Public convinced vaccines no longer work,” one of the first slides in the presentation says.

The data from a July 4 outbreak in Provincetown, Mass, also showing that vaccinated people who became infected with delta shed just as much virus as those who were not vaccinated. 

There is a higher risk among older age groups for hospitalization and death relative to younger people, regardless of vaccination status, the study said. Data showed 35,000 symptomatic infection cases per week from Delta variant among 162 million vaccinated Americans.

"Although it’s rare, we believe that at an individual level, vaccinated people may spread the virus, which is why we updated our recommendation," an anonymous federal health official told the newspaper.

On May 13, the wearing masks restriction indoors and outdoors became optional among the vaccinated Americans.

"Even people who are vaccinated should wear masks indoors in communities with substantial viral spread or when in the presence of people who are particularly vulnerable to infection and illness," says the paper.

The data, which was expected to be officially released Friday, will be published in part to justify the change in recommendations. The doc makes clear that vaccination provides substantial protection against the virus, however, some at-risk individuals will need an additional vaccine dose.

The presentation contains a note that conclusions of the studies' data do not necessarily represent the CDC’s official position. The CDC itself declined to comment.

The Delta COVID strain first found in India already raised serious concerns amid reports it was far more dangerous.