, U.S. Is ‘Far Away From The Peak’ Of Delta Variant, Public Health Expert Warns, The Nzuchi News Forbes

U.S. Is ‘Far Away From The Peak’ Of Delta Variant, Public Health Expert Warns

, U.S. Is ‘Far Away From The Peak’ Of Delta Variant, Public Health Expert Warns, The Nzuchi News Forbes

Topline

As the coronavirus’ more contagious Delta variant fuels a surge in cases, the physician and public health professor Dr. Ashish Jha offered a jarring warning on CNBC on Thursday, telling viewers infections may continue to climb for weeks — especially in undervaccinated areas.

Key Facts

In a Thursday evening interview with CNBC’s Stepard Smith, Jha said it’s unclear when Covid-19 cases will peak, but they could continue increasing until September.

Jha — who serves as dean of Brown University’s School of Public Health — said the United States is “far away from the peak,” and cases — which have steeply increased for weeks — will “go substantially higher” before leveling off.

Infections are up in all 50 states, but Jha noted that undervaccinated areas are bearing the brunt of the current Delta-fueled wave, and he predicted states with high vaccination rates will not become overwhelmed by cases or hospitalizations.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offered a similarly dire message earlier Thursday: CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky called the Delta variant “one of the most infectious respiratory viruses we know of.”

, U.S. Is ‘Far Away From The Peak’ Of Delta Variant, Public Health Expert Warns, The Nzuchi News Forbes

Crucial Quote

“This version of the virus — the Delta variant — is so incredibly contagious that it’s happy to infect people … at any time of the year,” Jha said. “If this were winter, this would be even worse than what we’re seeing right now.”

Big Number

40,246. That’s how many new coronavirus cases the United States has logged every day over the last week, a more than threefold increase from four weeks ago, according to CDC figures. Daily infections are still well below their mid-January peak of over 250,000.

Key Background

The Delta variant accounts for more than 80% of the United States’ current coronavirus cases, Walensky said Thursday. The strain is far more contagious than earlier forms of the virus, causing Delta to spread rapidly. Undervaccinated communities could face an especially severe wave of infections, health experts warn, with vaccination rates still lingering below 50% in some states.

Surprising Fact

Jha still doesn’t think a nationwide mask mandate or sweeping lockdowns are necessary. Instead, he says health leaders should roll out localized policies and focus on boosting vaccinations as quickly as possible.

Tangent

Data on how vaccines perform against the Delta variant is mixed and largely preliminary. One study from the United Kingdom found Pfizer and AstraZeneca’s vaccines are still effective as long as patients get both recommended doses, and Moderna says its two-dose vaccine holds up against the Delta variant, but a non-peer-reviewed study this week indicated Johnson & Johnson’s one-shot vaccine is only 33% effective against the new variant.

Further Reading

Study Finds Pfizer And AstraZeneca Vaccines Effective Against The Delta Variant — As Long As You Get Both Doses (Forbes)

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