Experts had expected the Delta variant to gain ground soon - but it is going fast. Last week, the it was responsible for 6 percent. This has more than doubled now to reach 15.7 percent of the newly reported cases, the health institute Sciensano reported.
The Indian variant is a lot more contagious; it will eventually become dominant in the whole of Belgium. Speaking in De Standaard, Tom Wenseleers, a biostatistics professor at Leuven university, estimates that the latest rate has even climbed to over 30 percent. Early July, the Delta variant is expected to overtake the British (Alfa) variant. In the summer holidays, Belgium then end up in the same situation as the U.K. The Delta variant is also making fast progress in other countries such as Portugal, Italy and Germany.
Wenseleers thinks that the Delta variant may be up to 50 percent more contagious than the Alfa coronavirus: on the one hand transmission levels are higher, on the other hand this variant can better mislead our immune system and dodge earlier immunity. Maybe patients with the Delta virus are contagious for a longer period, but more research needs to be done.
The Indian variant can still cause local outbreaks, though in general the vaccines are working relatively well against it.