By Sara G. Miller and Shannon Pettypiece
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a stern warning about the delta variant of the coronavirus: “Acknowledge the war has changed.” Now, it says even vaccinated people are able to readily spread the virus.
That is part of the message from a recent internal presentation prepared by the CDC detailing the dangers posed by the delta variant, which has already led to a spike in cases in the United States. The document, obtained Friday by NBC News and first published by The Washington Post, explains the scientific background behind the agency’s change in mask guidance earlier this week.
It concludes that the delta variant is “highly contagious, likely to be more severe” and that “breakthrough infections may be as transmissible as unvaccinated cases.”
Researchers have been focusing on viral load — a term for just how much of the virus is present in infected peoples’ bodies — which can affect transmissibility and severity. Infections with the delta variant lead to higher levels of virus in the body, even in breakthrough cases in fully vaccinated individuals, the document said. Virus levels can be as high in breakthrough cases as in unvaccinated people, even if vaccinated people don’t get nearly as sick.
Click here to read more.