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This contagious delta variant has been detected in the U.S.

There are growing concerns over a new subtype of the delta variant in the U.K. and now the U.S.

New evidence showing the delta variant is as contagious as chickenpox has prompted U.S. health officials to consider changing advice on how the nation fights the coronavirus.
A person holds a mask while walking outside in Philadelphia. The highly contagious delta variant subtype that raised alarms in the United Kingdom has now reached the United States, officials said Wednesday.
Matt Rourke, Associated Press

The highly contagious delta variant subtype that raised alarms in the United Kingdom has now reached the United States, officials said Wednesday.

Scientists have been worried about a new delta variant subtype — called AY.4.2, or “delta plus” according to some experts — that has been infecting people in England, per Business Insider.

Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said the AY.4.2 variant has been found in the U.S., too, according to New York Post.

  • She said the variant has not been linked to any clusters, though.
  • “We have, on occasion, identified this sub-lineage here in the United States, but not with recent increased frequency or clustering to date,” Walensky said, per the New York Post.
  • “At this time, there is no evidence that the sub-lineage AY.4.2 impacts the effectiveness of our current vaccines or therapeutics and we will continue to follow.”

Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the former commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, tweeted last weekend that there needs to be more search into the variant.

  • “We need urgent research to figure out if this delta plus is more transmissible, has partial immune evasion,” Gottlieb said in a tweet.
  • “There’s no clear indication that it’s considerably more transmissible, but we should work to more quickly characterize these and other new variants. We have the tools.”