The Extremely Contagious Delta Variant Is On The Rise Within the U.S. : Coronavirus Updates : NPR

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In the UK, the Delta variant or B.1.617.2 is now the dominant strain of SARS-CoV-2 and is causing spikes in COVID-19 in parts of the country. Mark Kerrison / Getty Images Hide caption

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Mark Kerrison / Getty Images

In the UK, the Delta variant or B.1.617.2 is now the dominant strain of SARS-CoV-2 and is causing spikes in COVID-19 in parts of the country.

Mark Kerrison / Getty Images

The Delta variant, discovered for the first time in India, now accounts for more than 6% of all infections in the USA, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And this highly transmissible variant can be responsible for more than 18% of cases in some western states.

Also known as B.1.617.2, the variant is spreading rapidly in Great Britain and has quickly become the dominant strain there, responsible for more than 60% of infections and causing surges in some parts of England.

“We can’t let that happen in the United States,” says Dr. Anthony Fauci.

Speaking at a COVID briefing at the White House Tuesday, Fauci warned that the Delta variant could be linked to more severe illness and a higher risk of hospitalization.

The good news is that the vaccines look like they could protect people from the Delta variant. A new study by Public Health England showed that two doses of the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine were 88% effective against symptomatic disorders of the Delta variant, compared to 93% effectiveness against the Alpha variant, which was first discovered in the UK just one Dose.

Fauci urged anyone who received the first dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine to sign up for a second. “And those who haven’t been vaccinated, please get vaccinated,” he said.

He says vaccinations are the best way to protect yourself and keep this variant from spreading and dominating in the United States