Former Biden adviser: Delta variant like 'COVID on steroids'

Former White House senior adviser for COVID-19 response Andy Slavitt said the delta variant is “like COVID on steroids” and urged Americans to get vaccinated. 

“If you haven’t been vaccinated, or you live in a community where there’s a lot of people who haven’t been vaccinated, this is a more virulent strain,” Slavitt told CNN on Wednesday. “This is like COVID on steroids.” 

“You could be around people for less time and still get exposed. So it’s yet another reason why people should, if they haven’t been vaccinated, should think about getting vaccinated,” Slavitt continued. 

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However, he added that “if you have been vaccinated, you’ve got very little to worry about.”

Slavitt also said there could be additional COVID-19 outbreaks as the fall approaches in communities where vaccination rates are lower, citing some areas in the Southeast.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday confirmed that the more contagious variant, which was first identified in India, now accounts for nearly 10 percent of new COVID-19 cases in the U.S.

The agency this week also labeled the delta strain a “variant of concern.” It is believed to be about 60 percent more transmissible than a previous variant known as alpha. 

The World Health Organization on Wednesday said the variant has now been found in more than 80 countries. It has become the primary strain in the United Kingdom.