This variant, first identified in India, has been found in 49 states and Washington, DC, according to GISAID, an independent data sharing initiative, and the Hawaii Department of Health. South Dakota didn’t report any cases of the variant as of Wednesday, a health department spokesman told CNN.
And every disease could be shorter or milder if you are fully vaccinated – but the keyword is “complete”, because a second vaccination is essential for optimal protection against variants.
“Please get your second shot,” said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky in an interview with National Public Radio on Friday.
“What we do know is that the first vaccination gives you some protection, but this second vaccination gives you broad and in-depth vaccination coverage to really tackle this Delta variant and other variants.”
According to CDC data, more than one in ten people in the US who received a dose of the Pfizer / BioNTech or Moderna vaccine missed their second dose.
“If you missed your second within the time window, get it anytime, get it now, but take this second shot,” added Walensky.
In Los Angeles County, 99.8% of the 12,234 people who have died of Covid-19 since December 2020 have been unvaccinated, local health data shows.
“The virus is still with us,” said Barbara Ferrer, director of public health for Los Angeles County, at a news conference Thursday. “Even now we have to take care to mask people outside our households and to keep their distance, especially if they have not yet been vaccinated.”
“And unvaccinated people are incredibly vulnerable,” he said, emphasizing that the Delta variant was “more easily transmitted” and “potentially more deadly and especially dangerous to young people.”
In the US as a whole, the delta variant accounted for about 21% of cases in the two weeks ending June 19, according to CDC data.
Distribution of some antibody treatments is paused due to variations
It is not only the delta variant that makes things more difficult for healthcare providers.
The rise in cases due to the Gamma or P.1 variant first identified in Brazil and the beta or B.1.351 variant first identified in South Africa are being considered a reason for disrupting the nationwide spread of certain monoclonal antibody treatments by Eli Lilly, the company said US Department of Health (HHS) on Friday.
Treatment with monoclonal antibodies from etesevimab and a combination treatment of etesevimab and bamlanivimab do not work as well with the variants according to the HHS statement.
The beta and gamma variants now account for at least 11% of cases in the U.S., and case numbers are rising, according to CDC data.
Warning of rare cardiac risk is added to 2 vaccine data sheets
The warning indicates that reports of side effects after vaccination suggest an increased risk of both types of inflammation, especially after the second dose.
Myocarditis is inflammation of the heart muscle and pericarditis is inflammation of the tissue that surrounds the heart.
CDC vaccine advisors met on Wednesday and said there was a likely link between the mRNA Covid-19 vaccines and rare cases of heart inflammation in adolescents and young adults.
The risk is rare, however: after administering about 300 million doses of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines by June 11, the CDC has received about 1,200 preliminary reports of myocarditis and pericarditis.
The FDA advises those who receive either vaccine to see a doctor immediately if they “experience chest pain, shortness of breath, or feel like they have a fast beating, fluttering, or pounding heart after vaccination.”
Both the FDA and the CDC are monitoring reports of these adverse events and will be followed up to evaluate the longer-term results, the FDA noted.
CNN’s Lauren Mascarenhas, Jen Christensen, Jacqueline Howard, Deidre McPhillips, Jamie Gumbrecht and Travis Caldwell contributed to this report.