The Delta variant is spreading way faster in some parts of the US than in others. How do we know that? Because of this variant tracker.
The delta variant, or B.1.617.2 , first identified in India in October 2020 has now spread to over 100 countries. The US, which has been celebrating reopening across several states with over 48% of its adult population vaccinated, is not immune to the threat.
Already, this “variant of concern” accounts for more than 50% of Covid-19 cases in the US, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) tracker. Per the latest scientific evidence, the delta variant is 40-60% more transmissible than the Alpha variant.
Certain regions seem to be far more affected than others when it comes to the variant, which is not only more transmissible but also more resistant to vaccines.
For instance, in the two weeks ending July 3, the delta variant comprised 74.9% of cases in region 7 (Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska) and almost 56.5% of cases in region 8 (Colorado, Montana, South Dakota, North Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming).
The higher incidence in these states is no coincidence. There is a common thread tying them together: poor vaccination rates. More than half of the population in the United States is not fully vaccinated.
Wyoming is the most vaccine-hesitant state in the country, with 33% of adults showing reluctance. In some counties in Colorado, people are buying into conspiracy theories and resisting inoculation. In Nebraska and Missouri, rural citizens are still struggling to get vaccinated. Iowa’s vaccine rollout is plagued by racial and geographical disparities, leaving a large chunk of the population vulnerable.
Countries with low vaccine coverage are recording a sharp jump in Covid-19 cases. The delta variant is also believed to be largely responsible for India’s second wave which continues to face vaccine shortages. In South Africa, a slow vaccine rollout, partly owing to the global vaccine shortage, has become a cause for concern—the country accounts for 35% of the African continent’s Covid-19 cases.
In the United Kingdom, there is fear that the lifting of restriction amid the threat of the delta variant could prove disastrous. The government, though, is banking on its vaccination program to keep the numbers down. Health officials at Public Health England appear to be optimistic about the data which shows that Covid-19 vaccines will be highly effective in preventing hospitalizations and deaths.