Delta Variant as Contagious as Chickenpox

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According a new study published by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed that the Delta Covid-19 variant produced similar amounts of virus in vaccinated and unvaccinated people if they get infected. “The researchers found evidence that viral loads were similar among 127 fully vaccinated people and 84 others who were unvaccinated, partially vaccinated or whose vaccination status was unknown. Viral load is a proxy for how likely someone might be to transmit the virus to others,” CNN reports.

Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of CDC said in a statement “high viral loads suggest an increased risk of transmission and raised concern that, unlike with other variants, vaccinated people infected with Delta can transmit the virus”.

Dr. Walensky reportedly told Friday that the finding of the study that the Delta variant resulted in similar viral loads “was a pivotal discovery leading to CDC’s updated mask recommendation“.

The masking recommendation was updated to ensure the vaccinated public would not unknowingly transmit virus to others, including their unvaccinated or immunocompromised loved ones.

Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of CDC (source: CNN Health)

For the study, CDC reportedly worked with the Massachusetts health department to track a cluster of coronavirus cases that emerged in the days following July Fourth holiday.

According to an internal CDC document the Delta variant is reportedly causes more severe illness and spread as easily as chickenpox. Dr. Walwnsky told CNN that the data in the report did not surprise her. “It was the synthesis of the data all in one place that was sobering”.

Referring to the CDC document CNN Health writes “Delta variant is about as transmissible as chickenpox, with each infected person, on average, infecting eight or nine others. The original lineage was about as transmissible as the common cold, with each infected person passing the virus to about two other people on average.”

Dr Walensky, director of CDC told CNN “I think people need to understand that we’re not crying wolf here. This is serious.” She said the data in the report did not surprise her. “It was the synthesis of the data all in one place that was sobering,” she said.

It’s one of the most transmissible viruses we know about. Measles, chickenpox, this — they’re all up there.

Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of CDC (source: CNN Health)

“When you think about diseases that have an R0 (infectivity) of eight or nine — there aren’t that many” Walensky added.

Dr. Walter Orenstein, head the Emory Vaccine Center and who reportedly viewed the documents, told CNN “The bottom line was that, in contrast to the other variants, vaccinated people, even if they didn’t get sick, got infected and shed virus at similar levels as unvaccinated people who got infected”.

Coronavirus-19 vaccination watch

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) COVID vaccination tracker page (as of July 30, 9 a.m.) 399,090,105 doses have been distributed and 344,928,514 doses administered. According MDH COVID-19 Response vaccine data (as of July 28) a total of 5,896,269 doses of Covid-19 (Pfizer & Moderna) vaccines have been administered in Minnesota. According to the MDH latest tally (as of July 30) the confirmed COVID-19 cases in Minnesota are 612,701 (out of 10,652,403 tested) with 7,668 deaths.