As the world continues to battle the coronavirus, the situation in the US has continued to improve. Many breakthroughs have been made: 14 states have reached President Biden’s goal of vaccinating 70% of all adults with at least one dose, eligible children are being vaccinated, and restrictions on social and commercial settings have been lifted. However, medical experts have become more concerned that non-fully vaccinated people could further spread the disease.
Delta variant cases, first appearing in India, are rapidly increasing in the US, accounting for nearly 10% of all coronavirus cases. The CDC has labelled the Delta variant as a variant of concern because scientists believe it is more transmissible and can cause more severe disease. US Surgeon General Vivek Murth has stated that the Delta variant appears to be more transmissible than the current dominant variant, the Alpha variant (first recorded in the UK). Furthermore, he states that data has indicated that the variant may cause more severe illness. Experts have voiced concern that the Delta variant may soon overtake the Alpha variant and become the dominant variant in the US as a result. Already in the UK, over 90% of all coronavirus cases are of the Delta variant.
Vaccines appear to be effective against the Delta variant. A study by Public Health England has found the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccination to be 96% effective after two doses. There is insufficient evidence to determine the effectiveness of the Johnson & Johnson single dose vaccine against the Delta variant, but the vaccine has been shown to be effective against other strains of the coronavirus.