Easier spread is the chief threat

It’s not clear if higher contagion is the reason the COVID-19 delta variant is spreading so quickly.

In Britain, its rise followed a loosening of restrictions in May, when restaurants, gyms and other businesses reopened, and thousands attended sports events.

It’s harder to tell if the variant makes people sicker. British experts said there are preliminary signs it may increase hospitalization, but there’s no evidence it is more lethal.

It fueled a devastating surge in India in February, and “this time around we had a lot more people who were very sick compared to before,” said Dr. Jacob John of Christian Medical College at Vellore. But he cautioned the “explosion” of cases didn’t necessarily mean the variant was more dangerous, as more cases usually mean more hospitalizations.

At the moment, the best protection is full vaccination. According to China’s top epidemiologist, Chinese vaccines currently in use are still effective against the delta variant.

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