CDC Internal Report Calls Delta Variant As Contagious As Chickenpox


The Delta variant is much more contagious, more likely to circumvent the protections offered by vaccines, and can cause more serious illness than any other known version of the virus, according to an internal presentation circulating the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The agency’s director, Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky, accepted on Tuesday That vaccinated people with breakthrough infections of the delta variant carry as much virus in their nose and throat as unvaccinated people and can spread it just as easily, though less frequently.

But the internal document reveals a wider and even scarier view of the variant.

Delta variant more It is more contagious than the viruses that cause MERS, SARS, Ebola, the common cold, seasonal flu and smallpox, and as contagious as chickenpox, a copy has been obtained by The New York Times.

The next step for the agency is to “acknowledge that war has changed,” the document said. Content first reported Thursday evening by the Washington Post.

A federal official who saw the research described in the document said the document’s tone reflected alarm among CDC scientists about the Delta’s spread across the country. The agency is expected to release additional data on the variant on Friday.

“The CDC is very interested in the incoming data that Delta is a very serious threat that needs to act now,” the official said.

As of Thursday, there were an average of 71,000 new cases per day in the United States. New data shows that vaccinated people do spread the virus and contribute to those numbers—albeit likely to a much lesser degree than those who haven’t been vaccinated.

Dr. Walensky described transmission by vaccinated people as a rare event, but other scientists have suggested that it may be more common than once thought.

The agency’s new masking guidelines for vaccinated people, introduced Tuesday, were based on information presented in the document. The CDC has recommended that vaccinated people wear masks indoors in public in highly contaminated communities.

But the inside document hints that even this advice may not go far enough. “Given the higher contagiousness and current vaccine coverage, universal masking is essential,” the document said.

The agency’s data shows that people with weakened immune systems should wear masks even in areas where the virus is not highly contagious. So should vaccinated Americans who come into contact with young children, older adults, or otherwise vulnerable people.

According to data collected by the CDC as of July 24 and cited in the internal presentation, there are roughly 35,000 symptomatic infections per week among the 162 million vaccinated Americans. However, the institution does not monitor all mild or asymptomatic infections, so the actual incidence may be higher.

The document stated that infection with the Delta variant produces virus amounts in the respiratory tract that are ten times higher than that seen in people infected with the Alpha variant, making it highly contagious.

The amount of virus in a person infected with Delta, a thousand times more More so than in people infected with the original version of the virus, according to a recent study.

The CDC document is based on data from multiple studies, including an analysis of a recent outbreak in Provincetown, Mass., that began after the town’s 4th of July festivities. On Thursday, that cluster reached 882 cases. Local health officials said about 74 percent were vaccinated.

Detailed analysis of the spread of cases showed that people infected with Delta carried huge amounts of the virus in their noses and throats, regardless of their vaccination status, according to the CDC document.

An infectious disease specialist at Bellevue Hospital Center in New York City, Dr. “This is one of the most impressive examples of citizen science I’ve ever seen,” said Celine Gounder. People involved in the Provincetown outbreak were meticulous in making lists of their contacts and exposures.”

Infection with the Delta variant may be more likely to cause serious illness, the document said. Research from Canada and Scotland showed that people infected with the variant were more likely to be hospitalized, while research from Singapore showed they were more likely to need oxygen.

Still, the CDC’s figures show that vaccines are highly effective at preventing serious illness, hospitalizations and death in people who are vaccinated, experts said.

“Overall, Delta is the offending variant that we already know it is,” said John Moore, a virologist at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York. “But the sky is not falling and the vaccine still protects strongly against worse outcomes.”


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