A CDC report offers new data about the variant from India.
The Delta variant is more contagious, even among those vaccinated, who have the same transmission rate as unvaccinated people.
This has been confirmed by a new study published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
In Mexico, the Delta variant has caused at least 60% of new infections in areas with high levels of transmission such as Mexico City, confirmed the local Ministry of Health.
“High viral loads suggest an increased risk of transmission and raised concern that, unlike with other variants, vaccinated people infected with Delta can transmit the virus,” said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the CDC.
The discovery confirming that the Delta variant is more contagious supports a change in CDC recommendations, requiring vaccinated people to wear masks again.
#DeltaVariant surging in U.S. New data show Delta much more contagious than previous versions of #COVID19. Unvaccinated people: get vaccinated & mask until you do. Everyone in areas of substantial/high transmission should wear a mask, even if vaccinated. https://t.co/tt49zOEC8N
— CDC (@CDCgov) July 27, 2021
According to the new data, vaccinated people infected with SARS-CoV-2 have the same or a similar viral load as unvaccinated people.
Although the specialists who participated in the study confirm that vaccines do make Covid-19 infection less likely, those who become sick have the same capacity for contagion as unvaccinated people.
The piece of data that worries CDC researchers most is that vaccinated people who are infected with the Delta variant can transmit the virus in the same way as unvaccinated people.
New research shows that the Delta variant lodges in the nose and throat area in large quantities, even in vaccinated people, so that their contagious capacity is similar to that of unvaccinated people.
New @CDCMMWR finds Delta variant causes vaccine breakthrough infections. Jurisdictions might consider expanded prevention strategies, including masking in indoor public areas, particularly for large public gatherings that include travelers from many areas. https://t.co/Q8d9kmQ4Mj pic.twitter.com/aTR6bKTwER
— CDC (@CDCgov) July 30, 2021
This doesn’t mean that vaccines don’t work: the same CDC data indicates that 97% of seriously ill people in hospital weren’t vaccinated, according to a The New York Times article.
The Delta variant is twice as contagious compared with other variants. Unvaccinated people can have a viral load 1,000 times higher than infection from other variants, according to a recent study.
July 4 marked a milestone in the fight against the pandemic in the United States. It was the first major national holiday on which vaccinated people were able to get together without wearing masks.
However, that day also marked one of the biggest mass infections, leading to a change in the plan set out by President Joe Biden’s government and the CDC.
The CDC report provides data about an outbreak in Provincetown, Massachusetts, where July 4 festivities caused 469 infections.
Of those, 346 cases or 74% of those infected are fully vaccinated people, primarily infected by the more contagious Delta variant.
An important fact is that none of those infected who had been vaccinated died, but 79% did show some symptoms.
The data confirming that the Delta variant is more contagious are based on 127 vaccinated people having viral loads similar to 84 people who were either not vaccinated, partially vaccinated or had an unknown vaccination status.
According to the CDC, the viral load data is important in terms of the transmissibility of the virus: it determines how easily carriers can spread it to other people.
“This was a pivotal discovery leading to our recommendation to wear masks when indoors again,” said Walensky.
She added that the new guidelines mean that the vaccinated public would not unknowingly transmit the virus to their loved ones.
The report, first published by The Washington Post, explains that the Delta variant is as contagious as chickenpox, one of the most communicable viruses in the world.
The report, not yet officially published by the CDC, said this variant could even be more contagious than the common cold and 1918 flu.
Regarding risk, the document shares that, in comparison to the Wuhan strain, the Delta variant increases the risk of suffering a serious illness and requiring hospitalization.
The new findings about how dangerous it can be mean that people who aren’t vaccinated and those who don’t have full immunity are at greater risk.
The CDC report recommends that health authorities change strategy and expand vaccination efforts.
It also supports the CDC’s decision for vaccinated people to return to wearing masks to protect children, older adults, and people with compromised immune systems.
This new stage in the fight against the pandemic and the Delta variant means a second generation of vaccines will be needed not only to protect people from dying but to also stop transmission.