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More transmissible Delta variant of coronavirus is in Arizona

Virus Outbreak Variant
Posted at 2:10 PM, Jun 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-11 08:01:58-04

PHOENIX — TGEN is reporting that the COVID-19 variant B.1.617.2, also known as the Delta variant, is in Arizona.

The company publishes a daily dashboard which reports the share of COVID-19 variants that appear in their genome sequencing by month.

In May, the Delta variant makes up 19, or 1.57% of genomes sequenced.

The Delta variant originated in India and is listed as a “Variant of Interest” by the Center for Disease Control.

The BBC reported that the variant now makes up 91% of cases in the United Kingdom, which was once dominated by the homegrown UK variant B.117.

This has led epidemiologists to estimate that the Delta variant has a 60% transmission advantage over the UK variant, which was already significantly more transmissible than previous COVID-19 variants.

It took four months for B.117 to become the dominant COVID-19 variant in Arizona, going from 0.57% of sequenced genomes in January to 60.12% in April.

Why does this matter?

In places where the Delta variant has taken hold there is concern that some infected individuals are seeing more severe symptoms, such as hearing loss and blood clots at higher rates.

Does the Vaccine Protect Against the Delta Variant?

Yes, but the CDC is warning that vaccinations may be somewhat less effective against it. A study in the United Kingdom suggests that a two-dose Pfizer regiment is 88% effective against delta, versus being 90% against the UK variant. One Pfizer dose is only 33% effective, rather than 50%.

The good news is that, as with other variants that have emerged, COVID-19 vaccinations have proven very effective at preventing severe illness and death from the delta variant.