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Virus Experts Warn New Delta Variant Is "Serious Threat"

How you can protect yourself and others from the highly transmissible variant.
FACT CHECKED BY Alek Korab

As the new Delta variant, first identified last year in India, continues to spread around the world, it is becoming increasingly clear that the COVID-19 pandemic still isn't over—despite vaccinated efforts. Now, experts are concerned that due to the number of people who aren't vaccinated, the virus will continue to spread. Read on to hear the warnings of top experts—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You Have "Long" COVID and May Not Even Know It.

1

The Delta Variant Is Leading to a "Plateauing of Cases" Nationally

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US Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy revealed during an interview with CNN that he is concerned about the Delta variant. "I am worried that what we are seeing in terms of a plateauing of cases nationally, but also an increase in cases in many small sections of the United States, that is in fact being driven by the Delta variant," he said. 

2

The Delta Variant Is "Highly Transmissible"

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People are worried about the Delta variant because it is "highly transmissible" and even "the most transmissible that we've seen to date" per Dr. Murthy.

3

If You Aren't Vaccinated, "You Are in Trouble" 

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"The good news is if you are vaccinated and fully vaccinated, it means two weeks after your last shot, then there is good evidence that you have a high degree of protection against this virus. But if you are not vaccinated, then you are in trouble," warned Dr. Murthy. "This is, again, a serious threat, and we're seeing it spread among unvaccinated people." What is the "key message" he has? "Get vaccinated. It's the best way to protect yourself from this variant and from all the other variants that we've seen before."

4

New Masking Mandates May Be Coming

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He also explained that "some localities like LA and others may make decisions to try to further limit the spread of the virus and whether that's through masking or through other measures." However, he reiterated that "if you are fully vaccinated, your chances of getting sick and transmitting the infection are low." 

5

The Virus Continues to Evolve

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Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, an infectious disease expert at the World Health Organization, told NPR's Noel King, warned variants will continue to develop. "These viruses are becoming more fit," she explained. "The virus is evolving, and this is natural." 

6

Masks Are Important in Ending the Pandemic

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While "vaccines are part of the solution" there is more to the equation of ending the pandemic. "Masks are part of that," she pointed out. "It doesn't mean that masks need to be worn everywhere all the time. It's really in areas where the virus is transmitting, the Delta variant in particular." She also pointed out that it is setting specific, and most important "if you're in enclosed spaces, if you're with others who haven't had vaccination," she said. "We will get out of this pandemic. We will see the light at the end of the tunnel. How quickly we get there is up to us." 

7

Keep Protecting Yourself and Others

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So follow Fauci's fundamentals and help end this pandemic, no matter where you live—wear a face mask that fits snugly and is double layered, don't travel, social distance, avoid large crowds, don't go indoors with people you're not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene, get vaccinated when it becomes available to you, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.