The Delta variant, which now accounts for about 85 percent of new COVID-19 cases in the United States, is as contagious as chickenpox, according to internal documents by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC).
The high viral load of the Delta variant makes it possible for vaccinated who become infected through breakthrough cases to spread the virus in some cases, the CDC now says.
“We have studies that have now shown that even on the first swab on somebody with a delta variant you’re seeing almost a 1,000 fold increase in the amount of virus,” Dr. Cameron Webb, a senior policy advisor for the White House COVID-19 response team said in a report by WKMG-TV in Orlando, Florida.
Estimates are that the Delta variant, which first turned up in India late last year, is at least 50 times more contagious than the Alpha variant, which was initially discovered in the United Kingdom in September, 2020.
More than 98 percent of US residents live in counties where less than 70 percent of the population is immune, according to the public health research group PHICOR.
The Delta variant is "more transmissible than the viruses that cause MERS, SARS, Ebola, the common cold, the seasonal flu, and smallpox, and it is as contagious as chickenpox," the CDC document stated, according to The New York Times.
The document states that the CDC's next step is to “acknowledge the war has changed," the Times report said.
The new CDC data will be published in full on Friday, according to The Washington Post.
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