We need to pay attention to each other. We are our brother's keepers. We are our sister's keepers. - Trai Byers
You are responsible for your life. You can’t keep blaming somebody else for your dysfunction. Life is really about moving on. – Oprah Winfrey
Delta variant now accounts for about 58% of COVID-19 cases in US, CDC says:
More than 184 million people in the U.S. have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, including over 159 million (48.1% of the population) are fully vaccinated, according to CDC data. The delta variant was first detected in the United States in March2021 and it quickly overtook other variants of the virus. During the 2 weeks ending June 5, it accounted for 10.1 percent of COVID-19 cases, rising to 30.4 percent of cases by June 19. The latest CDC estimate shows the delta variant accounted for 51.7 percent of cases during the 2 weeks ending July 3.
Health experts describe delta as the most “fit” variant of the coronavirus. That means it’s likely to outcompete other variants to infect more people with covid-19, the disease caused by the virus, said Monica Gandhi, an infectious-disease expert at the University of California at San Francisco. “It’s the one that is most likely to latch onto cells in a host, and it attacks that host better than the other variants, because it can replicate itself better.”
Forty-two states saw an increase in COVID-19 cases last week from the week before, a sign that the pandemic is not yet over in the United States.
Only Alaska, Delaware, Iowa, Maine, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota and West Virginia saw a decline in cases from the previous week over the seven-day period that ended Saturday.
The rate of vaccinations has slowed, and less than half of all Americans, 47.9%, are fully vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
According to data from The New York Times, the average number of new daily COVID-19 cases has increased 94 percent over the past two weeks as worries over outbreaks climb nationwide. The U.S. recorded a seven-day average of more than 23,000 daily cases on Monday July 12, almost doubling from the average two weeks ago, as less than half of the total population is fully vaccinated.
Monday’s count of 32,105 newly confirmed cases pushed the seven-day average up from its Sunday level of more than 19,000 new cases — a 60 percent increase from two weeks prior.
This comes as the highly transmissible delta variant was declared the dominant strain in the U.S. last week.
Should we be concerned about the delta variant? Just as health experts predicted, the combination of unvaccinated people and the more contagious Delta strain of coronavirus has led to new Covid-19 surges according to CNN.
In 46 states, the rates of new cases this past week are at least 10% higher than the rates of new cases the previous week, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
In 31 states, new cases this past week are at least 50% higher than new cases the previous week. The vast majority of new Covid-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths have one thing in common: They're among unvaccinated people, doctors say.
Will we need booster shots? Booster shots are additional doses of a vaccine administered after the initial dose, meant to ramp up your immune system's response to that particular pathogen. When it comes to COVID-19, “Americans who have been fully vaccinated do not need a booster shot at this time,” reads a joint statement issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on July 8.
Scientists at the CDC and FDA remain highly confident in the efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccines in the U.S., even against more contagious and rapidly spreading variants of the virus, like delta. “The United States is fortunate to have highly effective vaccines that are widely available for those aged 12 and up,” the statement reads. “People who are fully vaccinated are protected from severe disease and death, including from the variants currently circulating in the country such as delta.” The statement emphasizes that it is unvaccinated people who are at risk.
That said, the agencies aren't ruling out the possibility that a booster dose will be necessary at some point in the future, and are continuing to study the issue.
How Many People Skipped Their Second COVID Shot? More than one in 10 people or 15 million people in the U.S. have missed their second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, new data from the CDC showed. As the country begins to see a rise in coronavirus cases caused by the highly transmissible Delta variant, public health experts are urging Americans to complete the vaccination process. Early studies have found that the Delta variant does somewhat reduce the efficacy of vaccines, with one British study finding an overall 10% absolute reduction in vaccine effectiveness after both doses. Still, other studies have shown that getting the second dose can more than double the vaccine's efficacy
The Dominant Delta Variant Evades Immune Response: The Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2, which is now the dominant strain in the United States and in many nations across the world, seems to show quite an ability to evade the immune system. It is also highly contagious, with experts estimating the Delta variant being 60% more transmissible than the Alpha variant and twice as contagious as the original novel coronavirus that kicked off the pandemic at the start of 2020. New research out of France discovered that the Delta variant has an uncanny ability to evade the immune response generated by natural infection and one dose of the COVID-19 vaccines. The French study, published in Nature, evaluated the ability of vaccines and natural infection to neutralize the Alpha, Beta, and Delta variants as well as the original version of SARS-CoV-2. The researchers found that a single dose of a COVID-19 vaccine was highly ineffective, with only 10% of those with one immunization being able to fight off the Delta or Beta variants. However, 95% of those with a second COVID-19 vaccine were able to eradicate both Delta and Beta variants
A new variant on the horizon: The Lambda Variant:
Lambda (also known as C.37) was first detected in Peru in August 2020 and has spread to 29 countries, many in Latin America. And, since January 20, 2021, 668 Lambda infections have been reported in the United States. Lambda has seven mutations on the spike protein, the mushroom-shaped projections on the outer shell of the virus that help it latch onto our cells and invade them. These mutations may make it easier for lambda to bind to our cells and make it harder for our antibodies to latch onto the virus and neutralize it.
A preprint from the New York University Grossman School of Medicine looked at the effect of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines against the lambda variant and found a two-to-threefold reduction in vaccine-elicited antibodies compared with the original virus. In the scheme of things, this is not a massive loss of neutralizing antibodies. The researchers conclude that these mRNA vaccines will probably remain protective against the lambda variant.
The Lambda variant doesn’t qualify as a Variant of Concern but a Variant of Interest at this moment because studies have not yet confirmed that it is more transmissible, causes worse illness, or better able to get past the Covid-19 vaccines or treatments than other versions of the virus.
The key words here are “have not yet confirmed.” There just haven’t been enough studies so far to draw any strong conclusions about the Lambda variant.
Until next time. Stay Safe, Stay Well, Get Vaccinated if have not already done so, and make sure you protect yourselves and your family from the new variants.
James A Vito, D.M.D.