Some hospitals are overwhelmed as COVID-19 cases are on the rise across the country, largely among unvaccinated people. Internal medicine physician Dr. Stella Safo, founder and CEO of Just Equity For Health, joins CBSN to discuss the latest coronavirus news.
CBSN is CBS News’ 24/7 digital streaming news service featuring live, anchored coverage available for free across all platforms. Launched in November 2014, the service is a premier destination for breaking news and original storytelling from the deep bench of CBS News correspondents and reporters. CBSN features the top stories of the day as well as deep dives into key issues facing the nation and the world. CBSN has also expanded to launch local news streaming services in major markets across the country. CBSN is currently available on CBSNews.com and the CBS News app across more than 20 platforms, as well as the Paramount+ subscription service.
- The Delta variant is more contagious: The Delta variant is highly contagious, more than 2x as contagious as previous variants.
- Some data suggest the Delta variant might cause more severe illness than previous variants in unvaccinated people. In two different studies from Canada and Scotland, patients infected with the Delta variant were more likely to be hospitalized than patients infected with Alpha or the original virus that causes COVID-19. Even so, the vast majority of hospitalization and death caused by COVID-19 are in unvaccinated people.
- Unvaccinated people remain the greatest concern: The greatest risk of transmission is among unvaccinated people who are much more likely to get infected, and therefore transmit the virus. Fully vaccinated people get COVID-19 (known as breakthrough infections) less often than unvaccinated people. People infected with the Delta variant, including fully vaccinated people with symptomatic breakthrough infections, can transmit the virus to others. CDC is continuing to assess data on whether fully vaccinated people with asymptomatic breakthrough infections can transmit the virus.
- Fully vaccinated people with Delta variant breakthrough infections can spread the virus to others. However, vaccinated people appear to spread the virus for a shorter time: For prior variants, lower amounts of viral genetic material were found in samples taken from fully vaccinated people who had breakthrough infections than from unvaccinated people with COVID-19. For people infected with the Delta variant, similar amounts of viral genetic material have been found among both unvaccinated and fully vaccinated people. However, like prior variants, the amount of viral genetic material may go down faster in fully vaccinated people when compared to unvaccinated people. This means fully vaccinated people will likely spread the virus for less time than unvaccinated people.