The new Delta variant of the coronavirus is sending Australia, New Zealand and Bangladesh back into lockdown. Even Israel, who leads the world in vaccinations per capita, is reinstating a public mask mandate.
World Health Organization (WHO) officials stressed Friday the need for fully vaccinated people to “continue to be appropriately cautious and keep up with social distancing measures like mask wearing as the highly infectious Delta variant of the coronavirus becomes increasingly dominant in the U.S., and spurs new Covid-19 surges around the world—including in highly vaccinated countries."
The variant, first discovered in India, has been identified in at least 85 countries and “is the most transmissible of the variants identified so far … and is spreading rapidly among unvaccinated populations,” World Health Organization Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Friday.
The most common symptoms have changed from those associated with standard COVID-19. "Headaches, a sore throat and a runny nose are the most common symptoms,” according to the WHO. Infected people are mistaking the symptoms for a bad cold, though Delta has a far more virulent effect. Those with cold symptoms are encouraged to test immediately, if or whether they're vaccinated, and to isolate for 7 days.
Sydney, Australia’s biggest city with 5M people, instituted a two-week lockdown yesterday because of the growing number of cases of the newest variant of COVID-19. The Delta variant is to blame for the first lockdown in Sydney since December 2020.
On Monday, Bangladesh will enter a national lockdown for a week, with people allowed to leave their homes only for medical reasons.
Meanwhile, health officials said the Delta variant of the coronavirus has its own variant. Called Delta Plus, it has emerged in almost a dozen countries including; India, the United Kingdom and United States. Authorities fear Delta Plus may be far more contagious than the Delta variant itself, though scientists are just beginning to study the new strain.
The U.S. continues to lead with 34.4 million confirmed cases, and 600,000+ deaths. Over 152 million Americans have been fully vaccinated as of this morning, but the World Health Organization warns, “we anticipate the Delta and Delta+ variants to ravage the unvaccinated populations in very much the same way as its predecessor, COVID-19."
The WHO continues, "Its imperative that vaccinated populations understand they can and do continue to spread the virus to others." The world is expected to eclipse 4 million deaths from COVID-19 today.