© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergies and Infectious Diseases, makes an opening statement during a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pension Committee hearing to discuss the ongoing federal response to COVID-19.
(Updates the heading to show the delta variant)
By Carl O’Donnell
(Reuters) – The delta variant of the novel coronavirus, first found in India, is the greatest threat to US efforts to eradicate COVID-19 within its borders, US infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci during a press call on Tuesday.
“The portability of the Delta variant is undoubtedly higher than the original variant of COVID-19,” said Fauci, adding that “it has been linked to increased disease severity.”
The Delta variant will become the world’s dominant variant of the disease, said the chief scientist of the World Health Organization on Friday.
Fauci said the vaccines approved 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 fight the outbreak,” said Fauci.
The United States is missing its goal of vaccinating 70% of adults by July 4th and will likely take a few additional weeks to reach that goal, Jeffrey Zients, White House senior advisor on COVID-19, said during the press briefing .
Zients added that he expects 70% of adults over the age of 27 to have had at least one injection by July 4th.
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 Monday.
The Delta variant contributed to a severe COVID-19 outbreak in India in April and May that overwhelmed the country’s health services, killing hundreds of thousands.
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