COVID-19 Delta Variant May Spread Like Chickenpox, Cause More Severe Infection
The Delta variant of the coronavirus may cause more severe illness than all other known versions of the virus and spread as easily as chickenpox, US media reports quoting an internal document from the US health authority said.
The document from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) outlines unpublished data that shows fully vaccinated people might spread the Delta variant, first identified in India, at the same rate as unvaccinated people, reports said.
The contents of the document – a slide presentation – were first reported by The Washington Post on Thursday.
Dr Rochelle P Walensky, the director of the CDC, acknowledged on Tuesday that vaccinated people with so-called breakthrough infections of the Delta variant carry just as much virus in the nose and throat as unvaccinated people and may spread it just as readily, if less often.
But the internal document lays out a broader and even grimmer view of the variant.
The Delta variant is more transmissible than the viruses that cause MERS, SARS, Ebola, the common cold, the seasonal flu and smallpox, and it is as contagious as chickenpox, according to the document, a copy of which was also obtained by The New York Times.
The Delta variant — originally known as B.1.617.2 — might cause more severe disease, according to the document.
The immediate next step for the agency is to “acknowledge the war has changed,” the document said.
The document’s tone reflects alarm among CDC scientists about Delta”s spread across the country, the NYT quoted a federal official, who has seen the research described in the document, as saying.
The agency is expected to publish additional data on the deadly variant on Friday.
“The CDC. is very concerned with the data coming in that Delta is a very serious threat that requires action now,” the official said.