Amid concerns about the COVID-19 delta variant, parts of Europe reinstated travel quarantines, Australian cities are in outbreak-sparked lockdowns, and as Japan readies for the Olympics, some visiting athletes are infected.
The mutation is causing worry in countries with relatively successful immunization campaigns that haven’t reached enough people to snuff out the virus. The mutant has forced Britain, where half the population is fully vaccinated, to postpone for a month its long-anticipated lifting of COVID-19 restrictions, as cases are doubling every nine days.
In the U.S., “we’re still vulnerable for these flare-ups and rebounds,” said Dr. Hilary Babcock of Washington University at St. Louis.
The variants “are able to find any gaps in our protection,” she said, pointing to how hospital beds and intensive care units in Missouri’s least-vaccinated southwestern counties suddenly are filling – mostly with adults under 40 who never got the shots.