The U.S. is at another pivotal moment in the COVID-19 pandemic with the rapid spread of the Delta variant, experts warn.
“It is one of the most infectious viruses that we know of and that I have seen in my 20-year career,” Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC), said of the delta variant on Thursday (local time). She said the Delta variant is more aggressive and much more transmissible than previously circulating strains, adding the U.S. is “not of the woods yet.” The CNBC introduced a recent study that found people infected with the Delta variant had about 1,000 times more virus in their nasal passages than those infected with the original strain of COVID-19.
The Delta variant now accounts for four out of every five cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. The number of daily new cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. exceeded the 40,000 mark again on Thursday at 41,400, up 195 percent from two weeks ago. The number of daily deaths increased by 42 percent to 607 and the number of hospitalized patients grew by 46 percent. “It is not the direction we wanted to be going,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said, adding more needs to be done to combat the spread of the virus. The World Health Organization said on Wednesday that the Delta variant is reported in 124 countries and is expected to dominate within months.