The latest alarming coronavirus variant is exploiting low global vaccination rates and a rush to ease pandemic restrictions, adding new urgency to the drive to get more shots in arms and slow its supercharged spread.
Most of the vaccines still appear to offer strong protection against the highly contagious delta variant, first identified in India and now spreading in more than 90 other countries and regions.
But the World Health Organization warned last week that the trifecta of easier-to-spread strains, insufficiently immunized populations and a drop in mask use and other public health measures before the virus is better contained will “delay the end of the pandemic.”
The delta variant is positioned to take full advantage of those weaknesses.U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said, “With vaccines available across the country, the suffering and loss we are now seeing is nearly entirely avoidable.”