Story at a glance
- The World Health Organization said 62 countries have reported an occurrence of the Delta COVID-19 variant.
- Officials say the variant is more transmissible and will continue evolving.
- The Delta variant composes just more than 1 percent of the infections in the U.S.
The Delta COVID-19 variant, having first emerged in India and now spread worldwide, has been recorded in 62 countries, despite improved global circulation of vaccines.
CNBC notes that the World Health Organization (WHO) reported observing a consistent increase in cases of the Delta variant across scores of countries.
In a press conference on Tuesday, WHO official Maria Van Kerkhove attributes this spread to increased transmissibility of the mutation.
“We know that the Delta variant does have increased transmissibility,” she said.
Van Kerkhove added that the Delta variant — denoted as B.1.617.2 — is like other variants in that the mutation is a sum of many changes within the original virus and can infect human cells more easily.
She noted that it will continue to change, and studies are looking “more carefully” at the Delta variant in particular.
In the U.S., the Delta variant composes just 1.3 percent of confirmed COVID-19 infections, per data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The most common variant in the U.S. is B.1.1.7, or variant Alpha, that was first recorded in the United Kingdom.
Other countries, however, showcase a higher proportion of the Delta variant. Regions in the Western Pacific are reporting high case numbers, and while India’s case numbers have been steadily falling since peaking on May 9, the embattled country is still seeing infection rates well above previous levels.