WHO says Delta COVID-19 variant has spread to at least 80 countries


The World Health Organization (WHO) declared on Wednesday that the highly transmissible Delta variant has been confirmed to have spread to more than 80 countries.

The count represents a boost from last week when WHO said the variant had spread to at least 74 countries.

The Delta strain, originally detected in India, is thought to be around 60 percent more contagious than the previously detected Alpha strain, first found in the U.K.

Background: The variant, which is also known by the scientific name B.1.617.2, now makes up 10 percent of all COVID-19 infections in the U.S. – up from the estimated more than 6 percent last week

The Delta strain became the dominant variant in the U.K. earlier this month, overtaking the Alpha variant. Last week, the U.K. reported a 240 percent increase in Delta variant cases in seven days, leading the strain to make up more than 90 percent of all cases.

Follows: The CDC labeled the Delta variant as a “variant of concern” on Tuesday after concerns have mounted about the strain causing outbreaks among unvaccinated people in the U.S.

But the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, which are both mRNA vaccines, are about 88 percent effective against the variant.