China suspended flights and trains, canceled professional basketball league games and announced mass coronavirus testing in Wuhan on Tuesday as widening outbreaks of a new variant reached the city where the disease was first detected in late 2019.
The infections are characterized as far more widespread than anything China has dealt with since the initial outbreak that devastated Wuhan in early 2020 and over time spread to the rest of the country and world. This time, cases have been confirmed in more than 35 cities in 17 of China’s 33 provinces and regions.
Government-affiliated scientists have said that Chinese vaccines are less effective against the new strains of the coronavirus but still offer some protection. Only Chinese vaccines are currently being given in China, where authorities say more than 1.6 billion doses have been administered. China has recorded 93K infections and 4K deaths since the pandemic started in Wuhan in 2019. #really
Fastest and Fittest
The CDC described Delta as more transmissible than the common cold or flu and says "its as contagious as chickenpox” in an internal document. The highest spread of cases and severe outcomes is happening in places with low vaccination rates (Arkansas, Missouri, Louisiana, Florida) and virtually all hospitalizations and deaths have been among the unvaccinated, the CDC says.
Inci Yildirim, MD, PhD, a Yale Medicine pediatric infectious diseases specialist and a vaccinologist, isn’t surprised by what’s happening. “All viruses evolve over time and undergo changes as they spread and replicate,” she says.
While people who’re fully vaccinated against the coronavirus appear to have protection against Delta, anyone who is unvaccinated and not practicing preventive strategies is at risk for infection by the new variant, the doctors say. The World Health Organization (WHO) has called this version of the virus “the fastest and fittest.”
The 70/30 Split
The United States on Monday finally reached President Biden’s goal of having 70 percent of eligible adults at least partly vaccinated. The milestone came a month later than the president had hoped as the country faced the rapid spread of the highly contagious Delta variant.
Experts say that infections in vaccinated people are still relatively uncommon, and even in those cases, the vaccines currently authorized in the United States appear to provide protection against severe illness and death.
However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is urging all people in counties with high or substantial transmission of the virus to wear masks in indoor public settings. That announcement came as health officials said they had found vaccinated people can transmit the more contagious Delta variant, which is driving much of the recent increase in Covid-19 cases.
Louisiana and seven San Francisco Bay Area counties will mandate that people wear masks indoors starting this week, and Charlatan has learned that an additional 3 states and 7 counties will issue mask mandates by week’s end.
According to Johns Hopkins University, there have been 630K deaths in the U.S., and 4.2M worldwide from COVID-19 and its variants.