The delta variant of the coronavirus is extremely contagious, vaccinated people who still contract the virus can pass it on just as easily as unvaccinated people, and everything seems to indicate that the disease course in the delta is a lot more serious. This is stated in an internal document from the American health service CDC that the ‘Washington Post newspaper’ could view. “This is a different war,” it sounds.
The alarming document is based on recent and unpublished results of several investigations into corona outbreaks and some external studies. The CDC was so alarmed by the new insights that the health department immediately revised its guidelines for vaccinated people earlier this week, before making the new data public. That would happen on Friday.
The delta variant is said to be extremely contagious and spread as easily as chickenpox. He would pass from person to person even more easily than a common cold or the flu. “The variant is so contagious that it behaves almost like a completely different virus,” it reads.
Anyone who still gets infected despite vaccination can pass on the virus just as easily as someone who has not been vaccinated. Although vaccinated people have a much lower risk of serious illness or death, they carry the same amount of viruses as unvaccinated people.
This was evident from an investigation into an outbreak on July 4 in Provincetown, Massachusetts. Genetic analysis there showed that vaccinated people also passed the virus on to other vaccinated people. According to a source for The Washington Post newspaper, the results of the study were “very disturbing” and “a canary in the coalmine”.
Infections in vaccinated people remain rare. The paper estimates that there are 35,000 symptomatic infections with the delta variant each week out of a total of 162 million vaccinated Americans (0.02 percent). No data is available on asymptomatic cases, so the total number may be higher.
Older adults are more at risk of hospitalization and death than young people, regardless of whether they have been vaccinated or not. The vaccine also works slightly less well in people with a faltering immune system and rest home residents, which may justify an extra (booster) shot with a corona vaccine.
The CDC expects that the proportion of vaccinated people who still get infected will continue to rise as more and more people are vaccinated. This is also the case in other countries, according to studies.
According to the CDC, the best way to protect yourself against the delta variant is still vaccination. But that alone is not enough, or so it sounds. The agency advises everyone — vaccinated and unvaccinated — to wear a face mask again indoors in public places where there are many infections or when you come into contact with people who are extra vulnerable to getting sick.
According to infectiologists, the extreme contagiousness of the delta variant also has consequences for those hoping for herd immunity. This can be achieved if enough people in a population are immune. However, the higher infectivity makes herd immunity more difficult to achieve.