CDC labels highly transmissible delta strain a ‘variant of concern’ 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is labeling the highly transmissible delta strain of the coronavirus a “variant of concern” amid growing concerns about the strain fueling outbreaks among unvaccinated people in the United States.

The delta variant, first identified in India, is believed to be about 60 percent more transmissible than a previous variant known as alpha, according to British researcher Neil Ferguson. The delta variant has become dominant in the United Kingdom.

Health experts also say the delta variant could cause more severe disease and an increased risk of hospitalization.

The good news, vaccines work against it: The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, both mRNA vaccines, are about 88 percent effective against the delta variant after two shots.

It’s on the rise: Former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb on Sunday said the delta variant is doubling in prevalence in the U.S. every two weeks.

“I think in parts of the country where you have less vaccination, particularly in parts of the South, where you have some cities where vaccination rates are low, there’s a risk that you could see outbreaks with this new variant,” Gottlieb told CBS News.