Delta likely to become dominant strain in US: CDC

Washington/Berlin, Jun 19, 2021, IANS

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 recognises that itmay 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 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.

Delta variant gaining ground in Germany


Although the share of the Covid-19 Delta variant in Germany is only 6 per cent of the new cases, the strain is spreading at a fast pace, Lothar Wieler, president of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), said.

"It is really not a question of whether Delta will become the leading variant, but just when," Wieler told reporters here on Friday.

"It depends very much on the vaccination rates, and on how we deal with the relaxation of restrictions."

Germany's incidence rate of COVID-19 cases in the past seven days fell from 12 per 100,000 population on Thursday to 10.3 on Friday, according to the RKI, the federal government agency and research institute responsible for disease control and prevention.

A week ago, the country's seven-day incidence rate still stood at 19, reports Xinhua news agency.

If people in Germany remain cautious despite the falling case rates, it could be a "good summer", Health Minister Jens Spahn told reporters.

However, if the seven-day incidence rate rises again, the response should be swift, with regional rollbacks of relaxations, he added.

The number of new daily Covid infections decreased as well as 1,076 new cases were registered on Friday, 1,364 less than one week ago, according to the RKI.

Germany's overall infection tally currently stood at 3,728,601, while the death toll was 90,277.

Meanwhile, almost 24.7 million people in Germany had been fully vaccinated, bringing the country's inoculation rate to 29.6 per cent, the RKI said.

Almost 42 million people have received at least one Covid vaccine dose.