A new coronavirus variant is responsible for an uptick in cases in the United Kingdom, and the world is on edge about this latest pandemic-related challenge.
The Delta variant, which was originally spotted in India, is more contagious than the Alpha strain, Healthline reported. It has prompted the U.K. to delay its reopening process by four weeks to mid-July.
“I think it is sensible to wait just a little longer,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson said at a news conference Monday.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced a four-week delay in lifting lockdown restrictions in England to 19 July, saying it is “sensible to wait just a little longer” amid rising cases of the Delta variant.
— Sky News (@SkyNews) June 14, 2021
“As things stand, and on the evidence that I can see right now, I’m confident that we will not need more than four weeks,” he also said.
A study conducted in Scotland and published in The Lancet discovered that the Delta variant carries twice the risk of hospitalization in comparison to the Alpha strain.
The variant only accounted for about 6 percent of cases in the United States as of late last month, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but experts are warning that it is of concern.
BREAKING—CDC now officially declares #DeltaVariant a “variant of concern”—because much more transmissible (50% faster than #B117, 2x than original strain), more severe (2.5x hospitalization risk than B117, 4x original) & 1 dose vaccine evasive.🧵 #COVID19https://t.co/jZCgfzFLla pic.twitter.com/SszvXuysze
— Eric Feigl-Ding (@DrEricDing) June 15, 2021
“Right now, in the United States, it’s about 10 percent of infections. It’s doubling every two weeks,” former Trump administration Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb told CBS News on “Face the Nation” on Sunday.
“That doesn’t mean that we’re going to see a sharp uptick in infections, but it does mean that this is going to take over. And I think the risk is really to the fall that this could spike a new epidemic heading into the fall.”
While it is unclear at this time how the new variant would impact domestic policy at a state and federal level, there is a glimmer of hope for those who are concerned about getting sick.
The aforementioned study published in The Lancet determined that the Pfizer vaccine is 79 percent effective and the AstraZeneca vaccine is 60 percent effective against the Delta variant after two doses.
🦠 The Delta variant of the #coronavirus, the most infectious strain to emerge so far, now accounts for 6% of sequenced cases in the U.S., Fauci said.
💉 A single vaccine dose has limited efficacy against it, he warned pic.twitter.com/BKLAB62tVA
— Bloomberg Quicktake (@Quicktake) June 9, 2021
However, more research is needed in order to get a clearer picture of what will protect people the best.
So, will the Delta variant cause officials to plunge us into more lockdowns, especially with the more shutdown-friendly Biden administration in charge?
Due to the intense backlash lockdowns sparked in the United States, it’s highly unlikely we will see a March 2020 situation develop again unless the vaccines are later determined to be ineffective against the Delta variant.
Still, the American people should remain alert about the evolving circumstances in Europe as our leaders plot a course of action in the United States.
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