As of Friday, the strain makes up 10 percent of all cases in America – but it only made up six percent last week, meaning the prevalence almost doubled in just seven days.
‘Yes, I think that’s going to be the case,’ Dr Rochelle Walensky said on ABC’s Good Morning America when asked if she thinks the mutant is going to become dominant.
‘Essentially what happens is, when these viruses mutate, they do so with some advantage to the virus. In this case, it’s more transmissible.’
She added that when it comes to the Alpha ‘Kent’ variant that originated in the UK, it only took one or two months to make up the majority of U.S. infections.
‘I anticipate that’s what going to happen with the Delta strain here,’ Walensky said.
The variant led to havoc in the UK, now accounting for nearly 100 percent of all cases as the number of people confirmed to have the variant rose by 80 percent.
And, although there are signs that the surge in Britain may be slowing, a report found that 105,000 people in England tested positive over the course of the week, the most since April.
CDC director Dr Rochelle Walensky said on Friday (above) that she expects the Indian ‘Delta’ coronavirus variant, B.1.617.2, to become dominant in the U.S.
She noted that the Alpha ‘Kent’ variant took between one or two months to become the most prevalent strain in America and believes the same situation will occur with B.1.617.2
The variant, which was first identified in India and is known as B.1.617.2, has been labeled as a ‘double mutant’ by India’s Health Ministry because it carries two mutations: L452R and E484Q.
L452R is the same mutation seen with the California homegrown variant and E484Q is similar to the mutation seen in the Brazilian and South African variants.
Both of the mutations occur on key parts of the virus that allows it to enter and infect human cells.
On Tuesday, the CDC finally classified the Delta variant as a ‘variant of concern.’
This is an upgrade from ‘variant of interest,’ which is when a virus is suspected to be more contagious than other variants rather than confirmed to be.
Walensky urged Americans to get vaccinated, noting that studies have found two doses of COVID-19 vaccines offer protection against the Delta variant, even as the average number of vaccinations fell to 1 million from 3 million
A recent study from Public Health England that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is 96 percent effective against hospitalization from the Delta variant after two doses and that the AstraZeneca-University of Oxford vaccine in 92 percent effective.
In the U.S., 44.5 percent of the total population including 65 percent of adults, according to CDC data.
Biden has set a goal of vaccinating at least 70 percent of adults with one dose by July 4 and Walensky said she encourages people to roll up their sleeves.
‘I will say, as worrisome as this Delta strain is with regard to its hyper-transmissibility, our vaccines work,’ Walensky said.
‘Right now, they are working and they require actually two doses, or be fully vaccinated, to work well.
‘So I would encourage all Americans get your first shot and when you’re due for your second, get your second shot and you’ll be protected against this Delta variant.’
An Office for National Statistics report released on Friday estimated that 105,000 across the country would have tested positive last week but this figure nudged up by only eight per cent compared to a near-doubling the week before, when it hit 96,800
Graph left: A Public Health England report published today revealed the fast-spreading variant has now completely taken over in Britain and it makes up 99 per cent of cases. Graph right: Lab testing shows that the Delta variant (pink) has accounted for thousands of cases (specimens) in recent weeks and case numbers are soaring
In the UK, the variant now accounts for 99 percent of cases, and the number of people infected with the variant from 42,000 to 76,000 in a week.
A Friday report from Public Health England revealed that the number of people admitted to hospitals after contracting the variant rose more from 383 last week to 806 this week, a 110 percent increase.
However, only one in 10 people were fully vaccinated, bolstering hopes that vaccines will keep the virus at bay.
Additionally, deaths from the mutant strain increased from a total of 42 to 73.
On Friday, the Office for National Statistics released a report estimating that 105,000 across the country tested positive last week – the highest figure since April but only eight percent compared to a near-doubling the week before, when it hit 96,800.
The country’s R rate, measuring the speed of the virus’s spread, was today estimated to be between 1.2 and 1.4, remaining unchanged over the past week after rising for five weeks in a row, offering another sign of a slowdown.
‘Cases are rising rapidly across the country and the Delta variant is now dominant…It is encouraging to see that hospitalizations and deaths are not rising at the same rate,’ Dr Jenny Harries, head of the UK Health Security Agency, said.