Epidemiologist warns Indian Delta variant will go full blown in the US


Concerns are rising about the spread of the Delta variant of COVID-19 in the U.S. as President Joe Biden falls short of his July 4 vaccine rollout goal and cases explode in the UK.

The highly contagious Delta variant first identified in India now represents at least 20 percent of COVID cases in the United States, where it is expected to become dominant in a matter of weeks, according to the CDC.

In the UK, where roughly the same percentage of the total population is fully vaccinated, Delta has driven an explosion of new cases, with Sunday’s new infections up 60 percent from a week ago.

‘US has just 1 month to act before US becomes full blown #DeltaVariant dominant. 1 month to slow it down. 1 month to fully vaccinate. Or else. But we likely have even less time than that if CDC doesn’t act soon,’ tweeted Eric Feigl-Ding, a public health scientist who frequently comments on the pandemic. 

Concerns are rising about the spread of the Delta variant of COVID-19 in the U.S. as President Joe Biden falls short of his July 4 vaccine rollout goal

A regional map shows the prevalence of Delta (dark orange) as a percentage of all COVID cases, with the variant gripping the Mountain West and heartland strongest

A regional map shows the prevalence of Delta (dark orange) as a percentage of all COVID cases, with the variant gripping the Mountain West and heartland strongest

Feigl-Ding is a former Democratic candidate for Congress, who stridently advocates for vaccinating children and re-imposing universal mask rules even for those who are vaccinated.

Though he has a PhD in epidemiology, his background is in nutrition and chronic diseases rather than infectious diseases, leading some to criticize his pronouncements.

Eric Feigl-Ding, an advocate for universal masking and child vaccination, predicted a Delta doomsday in one month

Eric Feigl-Ding, an advocate for universal masking and child vaccination, predicted a Delta doomsday in one month 

However, other U.S. infectious disease experts are also raising alarms about the Delta variant, citing worrying trends abroad.

‘The delta variant is currently the greatest threat in the U.S. to our attempt to eliminate COVID-19,’ Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, said at a White House briefing on the virus this week.

‘Good news: Our vaccines are effective against the Delta variant,’ he added. ‘We have the tools. So let’s use them, and crush the outbreak.’

The variant fears come as the U.S. relaxes nearly all pandemic restrictions, with even California and New York allowing spectators at sporting events and mass gatherings going forward.

In New York City on Saturday, large crowds gathered for the annual ‘Dyke March’ protest, which was held virtually last year due to the pandemic.  

Following CDC guidelines relaxing mask rules, the protesters were largely maskless, and many went topless as well, as is traditional for the event.

The variant fears come as the U.S. relaxes nearly all pandemic restrictions, with crowds gathering on Saturday for a 'Dyke March' in New York City

The variant fears come as the U.S. relaxes nearly all pandemic restrictions, with crowds gathering on Saturday for a ‘Dyke March’ in New York City

Activist carrying a large banner lead the march on Saturday in New York City. Thousands of people marched in the 29th Annual New York City Dyke March

Activist carrying a large banner lead the march on Saturday in New York City. Thousands of people marched in the 29th Annual New York City Dyke March

The Delta variant has sparked troubling developments in the UK, where the end of lockdown was delayed by four weeks, and could be extended further as cases explode. 

UK health officials recorded 14,876 cases on Sunday, increasing 60.2 percent on last weeks figure of 9,284, while hospitalizations due to the virus rose 7 percent in a week to 227.

Fatalities increased week-on-week for the seventh day running in the UK but remain comparatively low at 11 on Sunday.

In the UK, 48.4 percent of the population is fully vaccinated, compared to 45.8 percent of the U.S. population.

In Israel, where nearly 60 percent of the population is fully vaccinated, Delta has also been driving a troubling surge, showing signs that the vaccine may be less effective against the potent variant. 

New UK cases and hospitalizations have been rising, driven by the Delta variant

New UK cases and hospitalizations have been rising, driven by the Delta variant

Deaths in the UK remain at low levels for the time being, suggesting protection from vaccines

Deaths in the UK remain at low levels for the time being, suggesting protection from vaccines

Infections have surged in Moscow and the capital accounts for nearly half of all Russia's cases

Infections have surged in Moscow and the capital accounts for nearly half of all Russia’s cases

New cases of COVID-19 in Israel rose to over 200 on Thursday from around 10 a day for most of June, according to the Wall Street Journal. Israeli health officials suggest about 90 percent of new infections were likely caused by the Delta variant. 

Last week, Israel reinstated a mandate on wearing face masks indoors in response to the troubling rise in cases. 

Russia is facing a surge in fatalities that authorities blame on the Delta variant. Moscow on Sunday recorded 144 Covid-19 deaths in the last 24 hours, the worst toll in a Russian city since the start of the pandemic.  

The Russian capital is seeing a surge in infections, with 6,723 new cases recorded on Sunday.

Moscow has been the national epicenter of the pandemic and some 2,000 people are hospitalized daily because of the virus there, Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said late on Saturday in televised remarks.

‘We have mobilized 20,000 beds and 14,000 of them are currently filled,’ he said. ‘That’s a lot.’

The Delta variant (identified in dark orange as B.1.617.2) now accounts for 20% of US cases, and is quickly displacing the dominant UK Alpha strain (B.1.1.7)

The Delta variant (identified in dark orange as B.1.617.2) now accounts for 20% of US cases, and is quickly displacing the dominant UK Alpha strain (B.1.1.7)

In the US, Delta has gained its strongest foothold in Mountain West and heartland states. Many of those infected are young and unvaccinated. 

It is now clear that the U.S. will not meet Biden’s stated goal of vaccinating 70 percent of U.S. adults by July 4. 

At this point, about 178 million American adults have received at least one vaccine dose, representing 68.9 percent of those 18 and older. 

At the current pace of vaccination, which has slowed due to hesitancy and concerns among those who remain unvaccinated, Biden’s goal won’t be met until late July.  

The White House on Tuesday acknowledged that Biden will fall short of reaching his his Independence Day goal.

Biden also expects to miss a second goal: fully vaccinating 165 million adult Americans by July 4. 

White House COVID-19 coordinator Jeff Zients projected it will take several more weeks to hit that number. On Saturday, the U.S. crossed 152 million fully vaccinated. 



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