Delta

Damn, the latest on Delta is not great.  Some of the coverage may be overblown, but it seems reasonably clear that Delta is much better at spreading among the vaccinated than all the previous versions of Covid.  This Post story has been getting a lot of coverage:

The delta variant of the coronavirus appears to cause more severe illness than earlier variants and spreads as easily as chickenpox, according to an internal federal health document that argues officials must “acknowledge the war has changed.”

The document is an internal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention slide presentation, shared within the CDC and obtained by The Washington Post. It captures the struggle of the nation’s top public health agency to persuade the public to embrace vaccination and prevention measures, including mask-wearing, as cases surge across the United States and new research suggests vaccinated people can spread the virus.

The document strikes an urgent note, revealing the agency knows it must revamp its public messaging to emphasize vaccination as the best defense against a variant so contagious that it acts almost like a different novel virus, leaping from target to target more swiftly than Ebola or the common cold. [emphasis mine]

It cites a combination of recently obtained, still-unpublished data from outbreak investigations and outside studies showing that vaccinated individuals infected with delta may be able to transmit the virus as easily as those who are unvaccinated. Vaccinated people infected with delta have measurable viral loads similar to those who are unvaccinated and infected with the variant.

“I finished reading it significantly more concerned than when I began,” Robert Wachter, chairman of the Department of Medicine at the University of California at San Francisco, wrote in an email.

CDC scientists were so alarmed by the new research that the agency earlier this week significantly changed guidance for vaccinated people even before making new data public.

The data and studies cited in the document played a key role in revamped recommendations that call for everyone — vaccinated or not — to wear masks indoors in public settings in certain circumstances, a federal health official said. That official told The Post that the data will be published in full on Friday. CDC Director Rochelle Walensky privately briefed members of Congress on Thursday, drawing on much of the material in the document.

That’s all… not good.  But, I’ve got to call out the fearmongering on Ebola.  I mean seriously?  Original Covid was probably more transmissible than Ebola.  Ebola is scary because of a ridiculously high fatality rate (and disease course).  But, come on.  And, they’ve all been more contagious than the common cold. 

Delta is up there with chicken pox and seriously contagious airborne viruses and that’s a big deal and bad enough.  Delta is the reality of what we wrongly feared original Covid was (fomites aside).  But don’t scare people with Ebola.  

Anyway, some good tweets on this:

 

Anyway, Delta really kind of sucks.  Yes, selection pressure and evolution are things, but there’s certainly an element of chance and, yeah, I’m bummed that Covid didn’t top out at Alpha. This late summer and Fall and going to be a lot worse than it looked like they were going to be.  But, still so, so, so much better due to vaccines.  Don’t forget that.  And, yes, we need FDA approval and we need mandates.  

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

One Response to Delta

  1. Jim Danielson says:

    That was exactly what I thought as I read the quote about ebola. Ebola spreads by direct contact with body fluids, not through aerosol droplets. If it was anywhere near as transmissible as chicken pox half the world would be dead.

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