The highly contagious Covid-19 Delta variant is currently the fastest and fittest coronavirus strain yet, and it will likely begin to “pick off” the most vulnerable populations around the world, especially in places with low vaccination rates, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) who issued a warning this Monday.
“Delta, which was first identified in India, has the potential to be more lethal because it’s more efficient in the way it transmits between humans and it will eventually find those vulnerable individuals who will become severely ill, have to be hospitalized and potentially die,” Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of the WHO’s health emergencies program, said.
Ryan claimed world leaders and public health officials need to work together to defend the most vulnerable populations around the world if they want any chance of this pandemic actually coming to an end.
“We can protect those vulnerable people, those front-line workers, and the fact that we haven’t, as Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has said, again and again, is a catastrophic moral failure at a global level.”
The WHO officially stated on Friday that Delta is becoming the dominant variant of the disease worldwide, and has proven to be more contagious, more deadly, and more resistant to current treatments.
“Delta is now replacing alpha, the highly contagious variant that swept across Europe and later the U.S. earlier this year. Studies suggest it is around 60% more transmissible than alpha, which was more contagious than the original strain that emerged from Wuhan, China, in late 2019. We need to vaccinate now. Get everyone vaccinated now,” Dr. Paul Offit, director of the Vaccine Education Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, said in a recent interview.
Delta is currently present in 92 countries according to the WHO, and now makes up about 10% of the cases in the United States, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The Delta variant recently became the most dominant strain in the UK as well.
“No variant has really found the combination of high transmissibility and lethality, but delta is the most able and fastest and fittest of those viruses,” WHO officials said Monday.
“This particular delta variant is faster, it is fitter, it will pick off the more vulnerable more efficiently than previous variants, and therefore if there are people left without vaccination, they remain even at further risk.”
The WHO has been urging wealthier nations such as the US to donate extra doses to the countries around the world that have barely enough to get one shot in the arms of most of their citizens.
“These vaccines are highly effective against severe disease and death. That is what they are intended for, and that is what they need to be used for. This is what COVAX and WHO and all of our partners have been advocating for, that these vaccines reach people most at risk,” Ryan claimed.
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.