Delta COVID-19 variant now 83% of US cases
The Delta (B1617.2) variant, first detected in India and now sweeping the globe, represents 83% of COVID-19 sequenced samples in United States, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Rochelle Walensky, MD, MPH, who testified today in a Senate committee hearing on the pandemic.
“This is a dramatic increase, up from 50% for the week of July 3,” Walensky said. “In some parts of the country the percentage is even higher, particularly in areas of low vaccination rates.” Walensky explained that the pandemic in the United States was not affecting the unvaccinated.
The variant is at least 50% more transmissive than the original, wild type virus. Delta activity has led to shutdowns in countries that had successfully contained other waves of the pandemic, such as Australia, and is responsible for slowing or stopping summer reopening plans across Europe and the United Kingdom.
In a tense exchange during the hearing, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky accused Anthony Fauci, MD, director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), of lying to Congress about any role the National Institutes of Health, NIAID’s parent agency, had in funding Wuhan labs.
“Senator Paul, you do not know what you are talking about, quite frankly, and I would like to say that officially. You do not know what you are talking about,” Fauci said.
According to the latest poll from the Annenberg Public Policy Center, a growing number of Americans—more than 30%—believe that the coronavirus was created by the Chinese government as a biological weapon, and possibly released during a lab leak.