WHO says delta variant to be dominant strain in the coming months

WHO says delta variant to be dominant strain in the coming months

In its COVID-19 Weekly Epidemiological Update, The World Health Organization (WHO) has said the Delta variant of COVID-19 is now present in nearly 100 countries as per conservative estimates and warned that in the coming months the highly transmissible strain will become the dominant variant of the coronavirus globally.

The WHO statement read, 96 countries have reported cases of the Delta variant, though this is likely an underestimate as sequencing capacities needed to identify variants are limited. A number of these countries are attributing surges in infections and hospitalisations to this variant.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, said last week: “I know that globally there is currently a lot of concern about the Delta variant, and WHO is concerned about it too. Delta is the most transmissible of the variants identified so far… spreading rapidly among unvaccinated populations.”

He also noted that as some European countries eased public health and social restrictions, there was a corresponding increase in transmission around the world. WHO questioned the wisdom of easing various lockdowns across the region amid poor vaccination rates and a surge in cases driven by the highly infectious delta variant.

“Well into the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic, the global situation remains highly fragile. While at the global level, trends in cases and deaths have been declining in recent weeks, there is significant variation by region, by country and within countries,” the WHO update said.

Dr Hans Kluge, the WHO’s European director, also echoed the same concerns and said that Europe will be “Delta dominant” by August. He referred to the infectious variant that now accounts for almost all cases in the U.K. and is rapidly spreading across the U.S.