US President Joe Biden and his chief medical advisor Dr Anthony Fauci have warned that the Delta variant of the novel coronavirus is highly infectious, which is now the dominant strain in the United Kingdom, spreading rapidly among young people between 12 and 20 years old.
The Delta variant of Covid-19, or the B1.617.2 was first detected in India in October and has spread to 62 countries, the World Health Organisation said recently.
“Folks, the Delta variant – a highly infectious Covid-19 strain – is spreading rapidly among young people between 12 and 20 years old in the UK. If you’re young and haven’t gotten your shot yet, it really is time. It’s the best way to protect yourself and those you love,” Biden tweeted on Tuesday.
Dr Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), said the Delta variant accounts for more than six per cent of the cases being sequenced in the US. The actual number is likely higher, as the US is running the genetic sequence on a fraction of cases.
The variant has become the dominant strain in the UK, accounting for an estimated 60 per cent of new cases. It’s now more prevalent than the Alpha strain, formerly called the B.1.1.7 strain, which was first identified in the UK, and transmission is peaking in people between the ages of 12 and 20, Dr Fauci said at a press briefing on Tuesday.
“In the UK, the Delta variant is rapidly emerging as the dominant variant … It is replacing the B.1.1.7,” Fauci said. “We cannot let that happen in the United States,” he told CNBC.
President Biden has set a goal of administering at least one vaccine shot to 70 per cent of Americans by July 4.
Last week, health officials in Britain warned that the Delta variant of Covid-19, has now become the dominant variant of concern in the UK and may also come with an increased risk of hospitalisation.