The Delta (B1617.2) variant, first detected in India and now sweeping the globe, represents 83% of COVID-19 sequenced samples in United States, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Rochelle Walensky, MD, MPH, who testified today in a Senate committee hearing on the pandemic.
The variant is at least 50% more transmissive than the original, wild type virus. Delta activity has led to shutdowns in countries that had successfully contained other waves of the pandemic, such as Australia, and is responsible for slowing or stopping summer reopening plans across Europe and the United Kingdom.
In a tense exchange during the hearing, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky accused Anthony Fauci, MD, director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), of lying to Congress about any role the National Institutes of Health, NIAID's parent agency, had in funding Wuhan labs.
The New York Times tracker says over the past 14 days, COVID-19 cases in the United States are up 198%, with lower—yet significant—rises in hospitalization (43% rise over the same time period) and deaths (75% increase). The average daily number of new cases has grown to 35,035, and 267 daily deaths.
According to the CDC, 161.5 million Americans have been fully vaccinated, or 48.6% of the population. And 56.1% have received at least 1 dose. These numbers remain largely unchanged since July 4, when the president had hoped at least 70% of Americans would have had at least one dose. The nation's coastal metropolises are taking different routes in handling rising cases due to the Delta variants. New York City health officials say 7 out of 10 cases in the city are caused by the Delta variant.