New Delhi: The Delta variant of the novel coronavirus that was first found in India is the greatest threat to the United States` effort to eradicate COVID-19 in its borders, said US infectious disease expert Dr Anthony Fauci during a Tuesday press call.
“The transmissibility is unquestionably greater” in the Delta variant than the original variant of COVID-19, Fauci said, adding that “it is associated with an increased disease severity.”
The Delta variant is becoming the globally dominant version of the disease, the World Health Organization`s chief scientist said on Friday.
Fauci said that the vaccines authorized in the United States, including the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, are effective against the new variant of COVID-19.
“We have the tools, so let`s use them and crush the outbreak,” Fauci said.
The United States is falling short of its goal of vaccinating 70% of adults by July 4 and will likely need a few additional weeks to hit that target, White House COVID-19 senior adviser Jeffrey Zients said during the press call.
Zients added that he expects 70% of adults over 27 years old will have had at least one shot by July 4.
More than 150 million people in the United States, or more than 45% of the population, have been fully vaccinated, according to federal data last updated on Monday.
The Delta variant contributed to a severe outbreak of COVID-19 in India during April and May that overwhelmed health services in the country and killed hundreds of thousands.