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Mounting concern about delta variant

A week ago 6.1% of cases of coronavirus were linked to the variant first detected in India.  A week later the share has nearly trebled to 15.7% and virologist Steven Van Gucht expects the latest figures to be even higher.

Delta is 55% more catchy than the alpha variant first detected in Kent that is 50% more contagious than the original variant says the virologist.  Meanwhile delta plus that is yet more catchy is waiting in the wings.

“A virus RNA chain consists of 30,000 letters.  The new variants have around a score of letters that are different.  Variants are not going to mutate sufficiently to make the vaccine useless just yet” says Steven Van Gucht.

The virologist says it’s too early to say whether delta makes it more likely you end up in hospital.  Symptoms are pretty similar to those of earlier variants but now also include a runny nose.

“If you are fully vaccinated you won’t end up in hospital or in ICU” says Van Gucht, though the chance of coming down with the variant can’t be excluded.”

The virologist believes that by the summer a majority of cases will be attributed to the delta variant: “If you see what’s happening in soccer stadiums, you wouldn’t believe there’s coronavirus.  Relaxations too have contributed to giving the variant free rein.”

A new wave is on the cards.  Van Gucht points to the UK, where more people have been vaccinated, and Portugal, two countries where infection rates are already on the rise.

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