The delta variant of the new coronavirus is as contagious as chickenpox, it can probably cause more severe forms of the disease than previous variants of SARS-CoV-2, and those infected with it appear to transmit it whether they are vaccinated or not.
This is stated in an internal document of the American Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which lists proposals to give the public a clearer message, to make vaccinations mandatory for health workers and to return to universal mask use.
The findings, based on scientific studies, are included in a presentation circulating internally at the CDC, the main U.S. health agency.
The document, originally published by the Washington Post and confirmed by the CDC, is accompanied by a warning to officials: “The war has changed.”
Entitled “Improving Communication on Vaccine Detection and Vaccine Efficacy,” the paper emphasizes that the Delta executive needs a new approach to help the public understand the risk – including making it clear that unvaccinated are more than 10 times more likely than those vaccinated to become seriously ill or die.
CDC Director Rochelle Wallenski relied on presentation data to re-recommend, for two days, the use of indoor masks for vaccinated people in high-risk areas.
The presentation is based primarily on an analysis conducted in Provincetown, Massachusetts, where nearly 900 cases of Covid-19 were detected following celebrations of the national holiday on July 4, although three-quarters of the participants were vaccinated.
However, there was “no difference” in the viral load of vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals, according to the CDC presentation, which appears to indicate the same degree of transmissibility of the virus regardless of vaccination status.
Instead, there have been few hospitalizations (seven to date) and no deaths related to the outbreak, according to local news site Masslive.com.
This monitoring “is the main factor in changing the CDC recommendations” for the use of masks, explains Celine Gounder, an infectious disease specialist at New York University, to the French Agency: “It is not about protecting vaccinated people who, if infected, “They will show mild symptoms or no symptoms at all, but because we see that they can infect other people.”
Jennifer Nuzo, an epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins University, adds that it should be noted that the event in Provincetown took place in a location where transmission to the community was low. Therefore, the new recommendation of the health authorities for the use of a mask would not have been implemented.
“In addition, information about this event suggests that exposure (to the virus) may have occurred in places such as bars or house parties, where the use of a mask was unlikely to apply,” he told AFP.
In addition, CDC documents show that vaccinated infections are not as rare as previously thought with “35,000 symptomatic infections per week in the 162 million vaccinated Americans.”
Based on international studies, the CDCs estimate that Covid was originally about as contagious as the flu, but developed into comparable to chickenpox – one person infected with the Delta variant transmits it to eight other people on average – less than as much as measles.
Data from Canada, Singapore and Scotland suggest it could be more dangerous, with more hospitalizations and deaths.
The effectiveness of vaccines varies, but in their presentation, the CDCs estimate that the risk of death or serious illness is divided by ten with vaccination and the risk of infection by at least three, which means that vaccines are 90% effective against serious diseases and 67 % against infections.
For experts, vaccines therefore remain the solution to the health crisis.
Precautionary measures recommended in the internal document of the CDC include making vaccinations mandatory for health professionals to protect the vulnerable and returning to the universal use of a face mask.
The vaccination campaign in the US has weakened, but the White House announced that half a million people received the first dose of a vaccine on Friday, the largest number since July 1.
Just under 50% of the total population is now fully vaccinated.
CDC chief clarifies that there will be no federal mandate for compulsory vaccinations
Following the confusion caused by her response to a televised interview yesterday, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Rosell Wallenski, stated that there would be no nationwide mandate for Americans to .
“To be clear: There will be no nationwide mandate. “I was referring to orders from private bodies and departments of the federal government,” Walenski wrote in a twitter post. “There will be no federal mandate.”
Earlier in the day, in an interview with Fox News, “Are you in favor of a federal vaccination mandate?”
The administration of President Joe Biden is looking for ways to increase vaccination rates in the United States at a time when some Americans insist on refusing to be vaccinated against the new coronavirus.
Biden on Thursday urged local governments to pay people to get vaccinated and set new rules that require millions of federal government employees to provide proof of vaccination, otherwise they will have to have regular tests, wear a mask and wear a mask.
The United States is recording an increasing number of Covid-19 cases, especially in areas with lower vaccination rates. In particular, cases of the Delta variant are on the rise, and health authorities introduced new measures last week to encourage vaccinations and told fully-vaccinated Americans to wear masks in areas “in the red” because of the number of cases.
Asked in an interview with Fox News if she understood the reactions of a federal mandate to many people who believe that the decision to vaccinate them should be made by themselves and their doctors, Walensky said: “I fully understand the reactions. ».
However, she added that “this is no different; other vaccines are mandatory” such as for school-age children and members of the healthcare staff working in hospitals.
“This is how I understand both perspectives on this case,” he added.