Story at a glance

  • The highly transmissible coronavirus variant first discovered in India has now reached 74 countries, contributing to outbreaks in the United States, United Kingdom and China.
  • Former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gotlieb told CBS on Sunday that people who contract this form of the virus “have higher viral loads” for long periods of time and “shed more of the virus.”
  • “It's doubling every two weeks. So it's probably going to become the dominant strain here in the United States,” Gottlieb said.

The highly transmissible coronavirus variant first discovered in India has now reached 74 countries, contributing to outbreaks in the United States, United Kingdom and China. 

Experts warn the Delta variant could soon become the dominant strain of COVID-19 in the U.S., as the mutation accounts for roughly 10 percent of new cases. Former Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Scott Gotlieb told CBS on Sunday that people who contract this form of the virus “have higher viral loads” for long periods of time and “shed more of the virus.” 

“It's doubling every two weeks. So it's probably going to become the dominant strain here in the United States,” Gottlieb said. “That doesn't mean that we're going to see a sharp uptick in infections, but it does mean that this is going to take over.”


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The World Health Organization (WHO) in April designated the Delta variant as a variant of interest in April and a variant of concern in May. Meanwhile, research in China and the U.K. suggests that the variant might be more resistant to COVID-19 vaccines, The Guardian reported. The variant currently accounts for roughly 90 percent of all new cases in the U.K.

Gottlieb’s comments are in line with a previous warning from Anthony Fauci, the chief White House medical advisor, who was adamant that the U.S. cannot let the Delta variant become the country’s dominant strain. 

Data shows that nearly 44 percent of eligible Americans have been fully vaccinated. Yet concerning outbreaks are occurring in countries where far fewer residents have received their shots. 


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Democratic Republic of the Congo's president Félix Tshisekedi said his country is amid another wave of the pandemic caused in part by the Delta variant. Nearly 37,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in the country with a population of more than 90 million. 

WHO announced last week that 90 percent of African countries are on track to miss their goals to vaccinate at least 10 percent of their populations by September. The organization’s regional director for Africa, Matshidiso Moeti, said the continent would need an extra 225 million doses to reach its target.


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Published on Jun 15, 2021