The delta variant of the COVID-19 coronavirus has public health officials the world over very worried. That variant, first seen in India and known by its identifier B1617, has now spread to more than 80 countries around the globe and is quickly becoming the dominant strain in the countries it has reached.
The reason the delta variant is so worrisome is that it’s both more transmissible than the original and alpha strains of COVID-19 as well as appearing to be somewhat more resistant to all current COVID-19 vaccines on the market.
Public health officials in America are particularly worried about the delta variant as it is expected to become the dominant strain in the U.S. by mid-July and is seen as the “greatest threat” to eliminating the virus in the country, reports NBC News.
For those concerned about delta’s spread in the U.S., the CDC has an interactive tracker and map showing the variant’s current reach. In the two weeks ending May 22, delta made up just 2.8% of all cases in the U.S. But by the two weeks ending June 5, its share jumped to 9.5%. And by the two weeks ending June 19, it’s estimated that delta accounted for 20.6% of all cases.
According to the CDC’s mapping tool, delta is currently most prolific in the central and western parts of the U.S. as of the two weeks ending June 19. In Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Nebraska, and surrounding areas delta now accounts for over 47% of all cases. In California, it’s over 28% and in Texas, it’s over 25%. The eastern states have the lowest incidence of delta so far—but that could quickly change as the variant continues to spread.
Even if you’ve been vaccinated, it’s still possible to catch the delta variant, according to the World Health Organization (via CNBC). That’s why social distancing in public spaces and mask-wearing is still so critical to helping stop the spread and making sure things can get back to normal as soon as possible.