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Experts warn that Delta variants may cause “two Americas” for COVID

The delta coronavirus variant that destroyed India and forced the UK to postpone the lifting of its remaining coronavirus restrictions is now on the rise in the United States. What this means to you will depend on whether you are fully vaccinated and where you live.

Experts say that we may be about to see the emergence of the “two Americas” of COVID: one has a high vaccination rate and the Delta coronavirus variant is almost non-threatening, and the other has a low vaccination level and is vulnerable to a new lethal surge. This disagreement is largely caused by partisan politics. Liberal cities have the highest vaccination rates, while conservative strongholds in the southern hinterland and rural areas of the country have the lowest.

“I call it two COVID countries,” Peter Holtz, a vaccine researcher at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, told BuzzFeed News.

As long as the vaccination rate is low, the virus will continue to spread and mutate, increasing the risk of new and more dangerous mutations.Vaccination in most parts of the world Far behind the U.S., Delta variants are likely to be imitated by other variants.

The Delta variant, also known as B.1.617.2, was first discovered in India at the end of 2020 and is believed to have promoted the country’s The devastating surge of COVID-19, Starting in March.Spread from then on More than 80 countries Worldwide, including the United States-the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officially designated it as “Variations of interest. “

Data from Public Health England indicate that the Delta variant is between Spreadability increased by 40% and 60% Alpha variant, also known as B.1.1.7. First discovered in the United Kingdom, and now the most common variant in the United States, the Alpha variant in turn is more likely to spread than the earlier form of the coronavirus.

So far, the vaccines available seem to be Provide good protection For most variants. But the Delta variant seems to be able to escape part of the immunity to the coronavirus. Although people who are fully vaccinated still seem to be well protected, those who have only received two doses at a time are still more vulnerable.

A kind Study in the UK Two doses of Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine were found to be 88% effective in COVID cases with Delta variant symptoms—not much different from the 93% efficacy seen for Alpha variants. But after only one dose, the vaccine has an effective rate of only 33% against Delta variants, and an effective rate of over 50% against Alpha. It is not yet clear how effective the natural immunity from previous infections is in protecting people from Delta variants.

There are also signs that Delta variants may cause more serious diseases.A study The case of Scotland A study published this week found that compared with people infected with the Alpha variant, the risk of admission to the hospital with the Delta variant approximately doubled.

“This is a nasty virus,” John Moore, a virologist at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York, told BuzzFeed News.

Now use Delta variant considering For more than 90% of the new infections in the UK, with the number of cases and hospitalizations rising again, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Tuesday that he will delay The remaining coronavirus restrictions were originally scheduled to be lifted in England on June 21 for at least four weeks. (Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have established their own health rules, but have taken similar steps.)

According to data from the United States, in the United States, the Delta variant appears to spread faster than the Alpha variant at a similar stage when it climbed to dominance. Outbreak information, A coronavirus tracking project carried out by researchers at the Scripps Research Center in La Jolla, California.

It is not clear whether Delta will dominate as quickly and completely as it did in the UK, where it replaced an explosion driven almost entirely by Alpha variants. Bette Korber, a computational biologist at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, told BuzzFeed News that a large number of competing variants are spreading in the United States, which makes it more difficult to predict what will happen. But she expects Delta Air Lines to become the most common variant in the United States within a few weeks. “It’s really going fast,” Kober said.

Health experts say that the United States can largely protect itself from Delta variants by rapidly increasing vaccination rates. This has already Slowdown in recent monthsBut they worry that some people who have not been vaccinated may see what happens to the Alpha variant and decide that they can wait and see.

In late March, as the new crown virus surged in Michigan and the number of cases nationwide began to rise, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky described her comments on “Coming doom“About the fourth wave of coronaviruses in the United States driven by Alpha strains. But facts have proved that this surge is small and short-lived.

Given the expected speed of transmission of the Delta variant and the fact that one dose of vaccine is not enough to provide good protection, the decision to postpone vaccination is risky. “Some of them will get a nasty surprise,” Bob Walker, chair of the Department of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, told BuzzFeed News.

The low vaccination rates in the southern and rural areas of the country make these areas the most vulnerable to delta variants. “I think it is very likely that there will be a large surge in winter or autumn, and they will almost only hit unvaccinated people and areas with low vaccination rates,” Vocht said.

But considering that suspicion seems to be largely driven by deep-rooted political loyalty, it is difficult to convince people who have so far refused to be vaccinated.According to a CBS News/YouGov Poll According to data released this week, only 52% of Republicans said they had been vaccinated partially or fully, and 29% said they had no intention of being vaccinated. Among Democrats, 77% said they had been vaccinated, and only 5% said they did not plan to be vaccinated.

The county-level vaccine promotion data also show a close relationship with the 2020 presidential election vote.

“Somehow, we must break the notion that allegiance to conservatism and the Republican Party is related to not being vaccinated,” Hottz said. “It’s really troublesome.”

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