Listen

News 88.9 KNPR
Classical 89.7 KCNV

member station

NPR
Coronavirus Updates

Delta Is Now The Dominant Coronavirus Variant In The U.S.

1013595851_1407170642.jpg

The delta variant, first detected in India, is spreading across the globe and is now the dominant variant in the U.S., according to estimates by the CDC.
Boris Roessler, DPA/Picture Alliance via Getty

The delta variant, first detected in India, is spreading across the globe and is now the dominant variant in the U.S., according to estimates by the CDC.

The highly contagious delta variant now accounts for more than 51% of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., according to new estimates released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The variant, also known as B.1.617.2, was first detected in India and is spreading quickly across the globe.

And in parts of the U.S., the delta strain accounts for more than 80% of new infections, including some Midwestern states like Missouri, Kansas and Iowa.

The delta variant is already causing 74.3% of infections in Western states, including Utah and Colorado, and 58.8% of infections in Southern states like Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas and Oklahoma, according to CDC estimates.

The good news is the vaccines being used in the U.S. all appear to be highly effective at protecting against serious disease, hospitalization and death. And public health officials are urging the roughly 140 to 150 million people who remain unvaccinated to get vaccinated.

"Right now we have two Americas: the vaccinated and the unvaccinated America," says Dr. Paul Offit, an infectious disease specialist at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

"We're feeling pretty good right now because it's the summer. But come winter, if we still have a significant percentage of the population that is unvaccinated, we're going to see this virus surge again," Offit says.

Support comes from

And it's crucial to increase vaccinations in other countries, says Saad Omer, a vaccine researcher at Yale. "The world has to get its act together," Omer says. "Otherwise yet another, potentially more dangerous, variant could emerge."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

You won’t find a paywall here. Come as often as you like — we’re not counting. You’ve found a like-minded tribe that cherishes what a free press stands for.  If you can spend another couple of minutes making a pledge of as little as $5, you’ll feel like a superhero defending democracy for less than the cost of a month of Netflix.