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Variant of the Coronavirus Delta: why some worry, others not

As California heads for a full reopening on Tuesday, federal officials are expressing concerns about the highly infectious variant of the Delta circulating in the United States and dozens of other countries around the world.

The variant, also known as B.1.617.2, was first identified in India but has since been found in 60 countries including the US and UK, Dr Anthony Fauci said. , the U.S. government’s foremost infectious disease expert, at a briefing. .

The Delta variant is believed to be even more transmissible than the Alpha variant, or B.1.1.7, which was first identified in the UK and has become the dominant strain in California and the US. The Delta variant may also be associated with an increased disease severity, such as the risk of hospitalization, compared to the Alpha variant, Fauci said.

There is good news, however. There are vaccines that have been shown to be effective against the Delta variant, such as the two-dose Pfizer vaccine and the two-dose inoculation of AstraZeneca – a vaccine not yet licensed in the US, but widely used in the UK . , and similar to that available in the United States manufactured by Johnson & Johnson.

The latest data indicate the importance of obtaining a second dose for vaccine regimens that require two doses. After a single dose of Pfizer vaccine, for example, there was only 33% efficacy against symptomatic disease against the Delta variant; but after the second dose, the vaccine was 88% effective against the Delta variant, Fauci said.

British authorities say transmission of the coronavirus peaks among people aged 12 to 20.

However, some California experts suspect that the United States is in a better position to prevent the Delta variant than the United Kingdom from spreading among teenagers.

The COVID-19 vaccine is not even available in the UK for people under the age of 25 who do not have underlying health conditions or who are not healthcare workers.

In contrast, in the United States, anyone aged 12 and over is eligible for the vaccine.

And even though transmission is on the rise among adolescents in the UK, there are still “so few hospitalizations because young people who contract the Delta variant do not get sick and need to be hospitalized,” said Dr Monica Gandhi, UC Expert in infectious diseases in San Francisco.

Overall, unvaccinated young people are less likely to need hospitalization for COVID-19 than unvaccinated older people, and older people have higher COVID-19 vaccination rates in the UK

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