U.S. coronavirus: Delta variant remains an urgent concern that may make it difficult to reopen the country


The Delta variant, which can spread more easily and cause even more serious diseases than other strains, has been a big concern of health professionals who are concerned about those who don’t stay vaccinated.

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.

Of course, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said that the likelihood of fully vaccinated individuals becoming infected with virus variants is slim.

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.”

President Joe Biden noted the dangerousness of the variant in remarks on Thursday and warned that the variant was “now the most common variant in America”.

“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.

According to CDC data on Friday, more than 151.6 million Americans are fully vaccinated, which is nearly 45.7% of the total US population.
Nearly 65.8% of adults in America had received at least one dose of a vaccine by Friday, according to the CDC. Biden’s goal of reaching 70% of adults with at least one dose by July 4th will likely be missed as officials are currently targeting mid-July.
A man receives a Covid-19 vaccine at a Greene County, Missouri clinic on June 22.  The county sees an average of 94 new Covid-19 cases per day, 93 percent of which are the Delta variant, officials said.

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.

These are the two key groups currently hardest hit by Covid-19

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.

In May, federal regulators suspended distributing these treatments to eight states that had a high number of variant cases. Eli Lilly’s treatment with a single monoclonal antibody, bamlanivimab, was suspended in March. In April, the company asked the FDA to revoke the emergency single antibody treatment so it could focus on its combination treatment.

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

Meanwhile, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration added a warning about the risk of heart inflammation known as myocarditis and pericarditis to the Moderna and Pfizer BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine leaflets on Friday.

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.

The benefits of Covid-19 vaccination clearly outweigh the risks of rare heart inflammation, CDC vaccine advisors said

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 counselors demanded that the benefits of the vaccination outweigh the risks and that almost all cases are resolved with little treatment and that patients recover quickly.

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.

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