Virus Outbreak Caused Mostly By Delta Variant

( )- The Delta variant is accounting for roughly 83% of all samples of COVID-19 sequenced in the United States.

Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, made that announcement on Tuesday. During a Senate committee hearing, she said:

“This is a dramatic increase, up from 50% for the week of July 3.”

Many health experts have said this variant is much more transmissible than other COVID-19 variants that have been identified to this point.

Last week, a former adviser to the Biden Covid Response Team, Andy Slavitt, said:

“We should think about the Delta variant as the 2020 version of COVID-19 on steroids. It’s twice as infectious. Fortunately, unlike 2020, we actually have a tool that stops the Delta variant in its tracks: It’s called vaccine.”

The challenge, of course, is that vaccination rates across the country have stalled in recent weeks. According to data released by the CDC, less than half of the population in the United States is fully vaccinated.

A poll published this week by Axios-Ipsos also found that a majority of those who aren’t currently vaccinated aren’t likely to do so at all.

The poll did reveal, though, that roughly a quarter of the people who are currently unvaccinated would ultimately get the vaccine under certain circumstances.

The U.S. is seeing a uptick in confirmed COVID-19 cases, specifically in parts of America where the vaccination rates are low. This is also leading to an increase in hospitalization and deaths.

Johns Hopkins University recently reported that overall daily cases rose 66% from last week and another 145% from two weeks before. Cases are rising in 46 states, the data shows, and hospitalizations have increased 26% from last week as well.

On Monday, the CDC also reported that almost 73 million Americans, or 22% of the total U.S. population, lives in a county that is considered to have “high” transmission of COVID-19. That mark makes it 10 times as great as the mark in June. At that time, only roughly 3% of the population lived in a county that had “high” transmission of COVID-19.

High transmission is considered to be 100 or more COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents, or an area having a 10% or higher test positivity rate over the last seven days.

The CDC data also shows that only roughly 5% of the American population lives in a county that’s considered to have “low” transmission. This is defined as fewer than 10 cases per 100,000 residents as well as a 5% or less test positivity rate over the last seven days.

Data has shown that the vaccines that are approved for emergency usage are effective against the Delta variant. In Israel, which uses the Pfizer vaccine exclusively, it has proven to be 64% protective against infection and 93% effective in preventing hospitalization and severe disease.

Still, that data isn’t convincing many more people to get the vaccine.