Covid vaccination in the US (representative image). Photograph:( AFP )
In some parts of America the delta strain accounts for more than 80 per cent of new infections, including some Midwestern states like Missouri, Kansas and Iowa
The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention has said that the highly contagious Delta variant has become the dominant coronavirus strain in the US, accounting for more than 51 per cent of Covid infections in the country.
The variant, also known as B.1.617.2, was first detected in India in December and is spreading quickly across the globe. In some parts of America the delta strain accounts for more than 80 per cent of new infections, including some Midwestern states like Missouri, Kansas and Iowa.
It is already causing 74.3 per cent of infections in Western states, including Utah and Colorado, and 58.8 per cent of infections in Southern states like Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas and Oklahoma, according to CDC estimates.
New Covid infections with the Delta variant now account for 51.7 per cent of the infections. The B.1.1.7 or Alpha variant makes up for 28.7 per cent cases after remaining a dominant variant for months, the data said.
US infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci had said that the Delta variant of the novel coronavirus that was first found in India is the greatest threat to the United States' effort to eradicate COVID-19 in its borders.
"The transmissibility is unquestionably greater" in the Delta variant than the original variant of COVID-19, Fauci said, adding that "it is associated with an increased disease severity."
The Delta variant is becoming the globally dominant version of the disease, the World Health Organization's chief scientist said.
The variant poses a "significant threat," to unvaccinated people, said the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
According to the CDC, one in five children between 12 and 15 years old are fully vaccinated. In the 16 to 17-year-old age group, approximately one in three have got the shots.
In the Delta variant, the mutation is a change in position in its spike protein, which allows the virus to penetrate and infect healthy cells.
The Delta variant contributed to a severe outbreak of COVID-19 in India during April and May that overwhelmed health services in the country and killed hundreds of thousands.
(With inputs from agencies)