The Chinese province of Guangdong is locking down and carrying out mass testing as officials work to tame a spike in coronavirus cases in the city of Guangzhou.
Officials in Guangdong have identified the highly transmissible Delta COVID-19 variant, which was first detected in India, as the main force behind the flare up since the end of May, according to CNBC.
Guangzhou, which has a population upward of 15 million people, has reported 96 of the more than 100 recent cases in Guangdong, CNBC reported.
Liwan, a city where the first case of the Delta variant was reported in the province in May, has imposed stringent lockdowns on certain streets, according to CNBC. In some areas, people are not allowed to enter or exit certain zones, and in others, residents are not permitted to leave their buildings.
According to CNBC, 24-hour checkpoints have been established to observe movement in and out of the zones.
Restaurants and entertainment venues have reportedly been forced to close amid the spike, and tight travel restrictions are in place.
In areas of the province where the flare up is of lesser concern, however, some restaurants and bars are offering takeout menus.
Hundreds of domestic flights from Guangzhou’s Baiyun International Airport have also been canceled, CNBC reported.
The Delta variant, which was first detected in India, now accounts for more than 6% of all infections in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And this highly transmissible variant may be responsible for more than 18% of cases in some Western states.
The variant, also known as B.1.617.2, is spreading rapidly in the U.K., and has quickly become the dominant strain there, responsible for more than 60% of infections and causing surges in some parts of England.
Speaking at a White House COVID briefing Tuesday, Fauci warned that the Delta variant may be associated with more severe disease and a higher risk of hospitalization.
The good news is the vaccines look like they can protect people against the Delta variant. A new study from Public Health England showed two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine were 88% effective against symptomatic disease from the Delta variant compared to 93% effectiveness against the Alpha variant, the variant first detected in the U.K. Effectiveness declined to 33% after just one dose: www.gov.uk/government/news/vaccines-highly-effective-against-b-1-617-2-variant-after-2-doses
Fauci urged everyone who has received the first dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines to make sure to sign up for a second. "And for those who have still not been vaccinated yet, please get vaccinated," he said.
He says vaccination is the best way to protect yourself and to stop this variant from spreading and becoming dominant in the U.S.
Differing strains of the coronavirus continue to appear and are worrying experts, including the newest one: the highly infectious “Delta variant” of COVID-19.
Here is a guide explaining what the “Delta variant” of COVID-19 is, where it originated from, where it is spreading, whether vaccines are effective against it and how you can protect yourself.
What is the Delta variant of COVID-19? The “Delta variant,” also known by its scientific name as “B.1.617.2,” was a strain of the coronavirus first identified in October in Maharashtra, India.
The strain was first named the “Delta variant” by the World Health Organization after the global health agency implemented a naming system based on Greek letters this month.
Although it is just one out of many variants that are spreading around during the pandemic, World Health Organization officials have called it “a variant of concern.”
The Delta variant also has split into several sub-variants, including one that is widespread in the United Kingdom.
Where is the Delta variant spreading? Although it was first detected in October in India, the Delta COVID-19 variant has spread to at least 62 countries. Hot spots for the virus also have formed in Africa and Asia.
“It is by far the most contagious variant of this virus that we have seen throughout the whole pandemic,” Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of the Brown University School of Public Health, told TODAY on Wednesday. “It is what has caused huge spikes in India, and it’s causing a serious increase in cases in the U.K. despite the fact they’re very vaccinated. So it really is a problem.”
At least 6% of those cases are in the U.S., according to NBC.
Do vaccines work against the Delta variant? If you are fully vaccinated, your chances of getting the Delta variant strain of COVID-19 are significantly decreased.
According to The Washington Post, which cited data from the United Kingdom, nearly all serious cases in the country are among the unvaccinated or partially vaccinated.
How effective is Pfizer vaccine against Delta COVID variant? How effective is Moderna vaccine against Delta COVID variant? Data from The National Institutes of Health obtained by NBC shows that two doses of the Pfizer or AstraZeneca vaccines are effective against the Delta variant.
Two doses of the Pfizer vaccine have proven to be 88% effective against the variant, while two doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine have proven to be 60% effective against the variant, according to the National Institutes of Health data.
Dr. Anthony Fauci told The Washington Post the Pfizer data would be similar for the two-shot Moderna vaccine that also uses mRNA technology.
How can I protect myself against the Delta variant? Fauci stressed the importance of receiving both doses of the vaccine to protect against the variant, as getting only one shot of either vaccine proved only 33% effective against the strain.
“The good news is our vaccines seem to be holding up pretty well,” Jha said. “The data that’s emerging suggests if you have been vaccinated you’re going to be fine. The vaccines really do seem to hold up against the virus pretty well.”
BNT162b2-elicited neutralization of B.1.617 and other SARS-CoV-2 variants
Abstract Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) continues to evolve around the world, generating new variants that are of concern based on their potential for altered transmissibility, pathogenicity, and coverage by vaccines and therapeutics1–5. Here we report that 20 human sera, drawn 2 or 4 weeks after two doses of BNT162b2, neutralize engineered SARS-CoV-2 with a USA-WA1/2020 genetic background (a virus strain isolated in January 2020) and spike glycoproteins from the newly emerged B.1.617.1, B.1.617.2, B.1.618 (all first identified in India) or B.1.525 (first identified in Nigeria) lineages. Geometric mean plaque reduction neutralization titers against the variant viruses, particularly the B.1.617.1 variant, appear lower than the titer against USA-WA1/2020 virus, but all sera tested neutralize the variant viruses at titers of at least 40. The susceptibility of these newly emerged variants to BNT162b2 vaccine-elicited neutralization supports mass immunization as a central strategy to end the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic across geographies.
Coronavirus Delta variant 'may hit us pretty hard' this fall. Here's what you need to know
As Americans mourn 600,000 lives lost to COVID-19, two states once hit hard by the pandemic — California and New York — ended nearly all health restrictions on gatherings Tuesday in a sign of the return to normalcy. But states where vaccinations are lagging are not out of the woods yet, especially with the Delta variant. University of California's Dr. Robert Wachter joins Judy Woodruff to discuss.