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CDC warns Delta variant appears to spread as easily as chickenpox

The CDC said the “war has changed” in the battle against COVID.
The CDC said the “war has changed” in the battle against COVID.(WFIE)
Published: Jul. 31, 2021 at 10:37 AM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE/CNN/NBC) - A stern new warning about the dangers of the Delta variant. CDC documents obtained by NBC News warn the variant is more severe and more contagious than previously known.

“You cannot avoid Delta, it is not possible,” Dr. Christopher Thomas, Critical Care Physician at Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center told CNN.

The CDC said the “war has changed” in the battle against COVID.

“This thing ain’t playing around,” Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear said.

New data made public Friday likens the Delta variants spread to the chickenpox and it’s more transmissible than SARS, Ebola, the common cold and the seasonal flu.

“What this says is that we can’t just be normal at the moment,” Beshear said. “This thing will spread wider and faster than anything we have seen to date.”

The Delta strain is also infecting the vaccinated at higher rates. As they carry similar viral loads in their nose and throat as the unvaccinated and while they too may easily spread the virus, the inoculated are rarely hospitalized.

“Not a single shift has gone by where there hasn’t been a vaccinated person that I still diagnosed with COVID-19,” Dr. Richina Bicetta, Medical Director, Baylor St. Luke’s McNair Campus Emergency Center told CNN. “Now, luckily, I haven’t had to hospitalize any of the patients, put them on ventilators or oxygen, but they are still getting sick.”

“The message is not that the vaccines aren’t working, the message is that not enough people are getting them, the efficacy of a vaccine that is not given is zero percent,” Dr. Tom Frieden, former CDC director told NBC News.

Despite the spike in cases, it is important remember we are nowhere near last winters surge in cases or the daily death count. Still, with the new data providing some concrete numbers on breakthrough infections, the concerning findings are why the CDC called for the vaccinated to also wear masks indoors in high risk communities earlier this week.

Scientists recommended the CDC go further saying “universal masking is essential.”

“The Delta variant has been a game changer,” Frieden said. “I think no one expected that it would have a contagious as index as high as this.”

The CDC is still struggling to convince some Americans to wear a mask, much less get vaccinated. This as more are falling seriously ill every day.

“I hate that we have had to pull these masks back out,” Beshear said. “I don’t think we will have to wear them for very long. But, none of us want to cause harm to anyone else. We gotta understand the guidance didn’t change. The virus changed.”

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