The Delta variant is a ‘serious threat’ as contagious as chickenpox, the C.D.C. finds.
The Delta variant is much more contagious, more likely to break the protections offered by vaccines, and can cause more serious illness than any other known version of the virus, according to an internal presentation released to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Agency director Dr Rochelle P. Walensky admitted on Tuesday that vaccinated people with so-called “breakthrough” infections of the Delta variant carried as much virus in their nose and throat as unvaccinated people and could. spread just as easily. , so less often.
But the internal document presents a wider and even darker view of the variant.
The Delta variant is more transmissible as the viruses that cause MERS, SARS, Ebola, colds, seasonal flu and smallpox, and it’s as contagious as chickenpox, according to the document, a copy of which was obtained by The New York Times.
The immediate next step for the agency is to “recognize that the war has changed,” the document says. Its contents were first reported by the Washington Post on Thursday evening.
The tone of the document reflects the concern of scientists at the CDC about the spread of Delta across the country, said a federal official who saw the research described in the document. The agency is expected to release additional data on the variant on Friday.
The agency’s new masking guidelines for those vaccinated, presented on Tuesday, were based on information presented in the document. The CDC has recommended that vaccinated people wear masks indoors in public places in communities with high transmission of the virus.
But the internal document suggests that even that recommendation might not go far enough. “Given the higher transmissibility and current vaccine coverage, universal masking is essential,” the document said.
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