Is Delta more transmissible than other COVID-19 variants – or is it just human behavior?

The Delta variant’s spread led to a surge in COVID-19 cases as countries like the UK, the US and India relaxed restrictions. But was it because it is more transmissible than other variants, or is it more to do with human behavior?

US virologist Vincent Racaniello said the latter is far more important in shaping the course of the pandemic.

He is concerned that misunderstanding about new variants – particularly the assumption they pose a substantial risk compared with earlier variants – is causing confusion, panic, and a reluctance to get vaccinated.

The crux of the issue is what the Columbia University professor calls the misguided impression that because the Delta variant spread so quickly, it must also be more infectious. He says people are forgetting about “the human factor.”

Pointing to the devastating impact of the variant on India, he explains that after months of lockdown and low caseloads, the government suddenly lifted many restrictions.


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