NEW YORK — Health officials say the delta variant of the coronavirus continues to surge and accounts for an estimated 83% of U.S. COVID-19 cases.
That’s a dramatic increase from the week of July 3, when the variant accounted for about 50% of genetically sequenced coronavirus cases.
"We are now witnessing concerning increases in a number of jurisdictions and given the threat of variants, including the increased prevalence of the hyper-transmissible Delta variant, we must remain diligent as we continue to fight this virus," Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told a Senate Committee hearing Tuesday.
During her testimony Walensky said according to the latest CDC data, "the Delta variant is now predicted to be the predominant lineage circulating in the United States."
Last week, Walensky described plateauing vaccination rates throughout the U.S. as “a pandemic of the unvaccinated” because nearly all hospital admissions and deaths are among those who hadn’t been immunized.
“The best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 variants is to prevent the spread of disease, and vaccination is the most powerful tool we have,” Walensky said Tuesday.
According to Walensky, as of July 15, nearly 56% of the total U.S. population received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
The delta variant is a mutated coronavirus that spreads more easily than other versions. It was first detected in India but now has been identified around the world.