‘Delta variant most transmissible,’ WHO chief warns
The Delta variant is considered to be a dangerous virus and is more transmissible than the Alpha variant
WHO Chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has warned that the Delta variant of Coronavirus identified in around 85 countries across the world is the most transmissible of the variants identified so far.
“I know that globally there is currently a lot of concern about the Delta variant, and the WHO is concerned about it too,” Director-General Ghebreyesus said at a press briefing in Geneva on Friday.
“Delta is the most transmissible of the variants identified so far. It is spreading rapidly among unvaccinated populations,” he said.
The WHO chief expressed his concern that, as some countries ease pandemic-related restriction measures, “we are starting to see increase in transmission around the world.”
“More cases mean more hospitalisations, further stretching health workers and health systems, which increases the risk of death,” he said.
On the other hand, in a strong warning, Dr Maria Van Kerkhove, COVID-19 Technical Lead at the WHO said the Delta variant is a dangerous virus and is more transmissible than the Alpha variant, which was itself extremely transmissible across Europe and any country that it entered.
“The Delta variant is even more transmissible,” she said, adding that the WHO is seeing trajectories of incidents that are almost “vertical” in a number of countries around the world.
Many European countries are witnessing a decline in cases but there are a lot of events happening across the region, including large sporting or religious events “or even backyard barbecues.”
“All of these actions have consequences and the Delta variant is spreading readily among people who are unvaccinated,” Kerkhove said.
While some countries have high percentages of people who are vaccinated, yet the entire population of those nations is not yet vaccinated and many people have not received their second dose or the full course of dose of the COVID-19 vaccines, she said.
Kerkhove underlined that COVID-19 vaccines are incredibly effective at preventing severe disease and death, including against the Delta variant.
“The virus will continue to evolve. And right now our public health and social measures work, our vaccines work,” the diagnostics work and the therapeutics work. “But there may be a time where this virus evolves and these countermeasures don’t. So we need some kind of movement to pull ourselves together to drive transmission down and keep it down,” she said.