Health Highlights: June 23, 2021

Coronavirus Delta Variant Spreading Rapidly in U.S.

The delta variant of the coronavirus that once crippled India now accounts for 20% of infections in the United States, Dr. Anthony Fauci said Tuesday.

The percentage of the highly transmissible and potentially more dangerous variant doubled in recent weeks, he said Tuesday at a White House briefing on the virus, CNN reported.

“As was the case with [the alpha variant first seen in Britain], we seem to be following the pattern with the delta variant, with a doubling time of about two weeks,” Fauci noted.

Luckily, the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines appear effective against the delta variant, he said, but the challenge is to get more people to take the vaccines, CNN reported.

The Pfizer vaccine was 88% effective in preventing COVID-19 symptoms from the delta variant two weeks after the second dose of the vaccine, Fauci said.

“When you look at hospitalizations, again, both the Pfizer-BioNTech and the Oxford AstraZeneca are between 92 and 96% effective against hospitalizations,” Fauci said.