The Delta variant, which was first detected in India, has been spreading so fast in Korea. It now accounts for over half of new COVID-19 cases, driving majority of COVID-19 cases in the country. In particular, it was confirmed that the Delta variant is accountable for the recent spike of new infections in non-capital areas.
The Delta variant is known to be 2.4 times more likely to cause infection than the non-variant and 1.64 times more likely to cause infection than the Alpha variant. Looking at the spread of the Delta variant in the country, however, it appears much more contagious than them. The Dong-A Ilbo looked at the results of some epidemiological analysis and found that there were many cases, where multiple infections occurred within two days of contact with someone diagnosed with the Delta variant.
The fast spread of the Delta variant is incapacitating Korea’s testing-tracing-treatment (3T) strategy. In other words, the fast spread of the Delta strain is deterring the efforts to contain the spread of virus. The Delta variant affects negatively to patients’ condition. Of the 2,983 confirmed cases of the Delta variant, 89 (3.0%) were in critical condition. This is higher than the percentage of severe cases (1.3%) among all confirmed cases.
Concerns are rising that easing social distancing measures under such circumstances could hamper the country’s anti-COVID-19 efforts. “The Delta variant is spreading faster than expected,” said Lee Sang-won, the epidemiological investigation and analysis leader at the Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasures Headquarters. “Reinforcing social distancing is an inevitable choice in such circumstances and active participation of all citizens is necessary.”