The Delta variant of coronavirus appears to cause more severe illness and is as contagious as chickenpox, according to an internal document circulated within the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The document-a slide presentation- outlines unpublished data that says fully vaccinated people might spread the Delta variant at the same rate as unvaccinated people.
CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky confirmed the authenticity of the document. “It’s one of the most transmissible viruses we know about. Measles, chickenpox, this — they’re all up there,” she told CNN. As per the document, he new 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.
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.
The CDC is scheduled to publish data Friday that will back Walensky’s controversial decision to change guidance for fully vaccinated people. The CDC document relies on data from multiple studies, including an analysis of a recent outbreak in Provincetown, Massachusetts, which began after the town”s Fourth of July festivities. Dr Walensky told CNN that the Delta variant “is one of the most transmissible viruses we know about. Measles, chickenpox, this — they”re all up there.” And she said everyone in schools — students, staff and visitors — should wear masks at all times.
“The measures we need to get this under control — they”re extreme. The measures you need are extreme,” Dr Walensky said.